African-American Officers Send Letter to Md. FOP

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LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70 representing Anne Arundel County officers donated over $1,000 last week to the legal fees of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson cop who shot and killed Michael Brown.

Now, some members of that force aren’t happy about the decision to do that.

Cpl. Kam Cooke, acting president of the Black Police Officers Association in Anne Arundel County, says he’s spoken with about 50 or so black officers on the force, and many white officers, who agree this was the wrong move.

“At this time, it’s way too early to make that type of decision,” Cooke says.

In a letter to FOP President O’Brien Atkinson, Cooke asks the donation be rescinded.

So far, no other local FOPs have donated.

“It does pose a question,” Cooke says. “It certainly poses a question.”

The FOP said they were first going to pay for food to feed the officers working long nights in Ferguson before deciding to donate to Officer Wilson’s legal funds, according to Cooke.

“I believe the intentions were noble, which I stated in the letter,” Cooke says. “If we’re going to feed officers, I’m totally in agreement with that. I’m sure my coworkers on both sides of the table are totally in agreement with that. However, when the money is transitioned to supporting a legal defense fund, that’s when we probably when we need to draw that money back and perhaps get the feel of what the union wants to do before we just jump to make that donation.”

There are about 50 black officers on the force in Anne Arundel County.

“It’s very hurtful,” Cooke says. “It’s an inflammatory situation right now, as you can see down in…Missouri. Ferguson. We don’t need that here. You know, we don’t need any of that to be brought up here. We do well with our communities. We’re in our communities. I know personally, I’m big on community policing and that is just not a topic that we need to be discussing here in Anne Arundel County.”

Cooke says he found that a lot of black officers, as well as white officers, were not in agreement with sending a donation for Officer Wilson’s legal funds.

“It sickens my stomach that my FOP would just make a donation without any sort of public or unionized information sharing to let us know what’s going on,” Cooke says.

FOP President Atkinson has not replied to Cooke’s letter as of yet.

“President Atkinson has my telephone number, he knows how to get a hold of me,” Cooke says. “A lot of this is simple communication. Had we just opened up a dialogue of communication before we contribute to someone’s legal defense fund we wouldn’t be here now. This wouldn’t be the topic of another conversation.”

African-American Officers Send Letter to Maryland FOP

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WNEW’s Cameron Thompson contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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