The head of the Dallas Black Police Officers Association said police shootings of unarmed black men is an "epidemic" and police forces need strong reforms to stop it.
"There is an epidemic of unarmed black men being shot by police officers. It is so pervasive, if not checked it will soon rise to levels exceeded only by lynchings, and slavery,” Lt. Thomas Glover wrote in a press release from the association, reported KXAS. “It is time to jog our consciousness and stop this epidemic from spreading; we cannot continue to have innocent lives lost."
According to The Guardian's "The Counted," project, 123 unarmed people have been killed by police so far in 2016 throughout the U.S. Of those, 123 victims, 33 were black.
Glover added in the letter:
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"As black police officers, we are expected to perform our duty at times when one would believe that we are forced to chooses between two sides. One side tells us remaining silent on this issue is necessary to survive in this profession, the other tells us to speak up loudly if we are to survive in our ethnic community. As black officers we will choose the side of right and use all of our energy, time, expertise, and funds to render this epidemic officially over."
In an interview with KXAS, Glover explained that just one unarmed man who wasn't posing a threat getting killed is “one too many.”
"And I can go on and on talking about the cases just this year, just this year, where a police officer shot and injured or shot and killed an unarmed black man," he said.
To stop the epidemic, Glover said police forces need civilian oversight boards and greater transparency of police shooting investigations, including video recordings.
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"In order to build trust we have to be transparent and also allow some kind of mechanism so that citizens truly believe they have a voice," he said.
This isn't the first time Glover has spoken out about the need to stop police brutality.
In a July interview with PBS, Glover spoke out against the killing of five police officers in Dallas by a lone gunman, but he also said police should recognize the need to punish wrongdoing by police to gain the public trust.
“When there is misconduct, that officer needs to be, I will use the word crucified, because when one officer, whether it be in a small town in New Jersey or a major city on the West Coast or a mid-sized city in Central United States, anytime an officer commits misconduct, it reflects what I have to deal with, what almost a million other police officers have to deal with around the country,” Glover said.