- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

El Paso’s first black police chief is defending comments he made last week calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “radical hate group,” saying the rhetoric of the movement is “directly and indirectly” influencing violence across the country and runs contrary to what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for.

Chief Greg Allen has faced backlash since Friday when he criticized Black Lives Matter after a press conference in response to the Dallas killings of five police officers.

“Black Lives Matter, as far as I am concerned, is a radical hate group,” Chief Allen said. “And for that purpose alone, I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group. The consequences of what we saw in Dallas is due to their efforts.”

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said he disagreed with Chief Allen’s characterization of the movement, and El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said he believed the chief should have better explained his views. On Saturday, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, County Judge Veronica Escobar and other El Paso area leaders sent a letter to Mr. Leeser and the El Paso City Council to repudiate Chief Allen, The El Paso Times reported

Chief Allen responded in a statement Monday saying the remarks he made after Friday’s press conference “were made during an emotional time.”

He wrote that he’s had to bury five police officers during his tenure as chief and will “never forget their faces.”

“Having to endure that and hearing and seeing the negative actions that are taking place at some ‘Black Lives Matter’ events truly disturb me,” he wrote. “For example, in New York City, the protestors were chanting, ‘What do you want?’ and the response was ‘dead cops.’ At another protest in Minnesota, the protestors were chanting ‘pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon.’ In Harlem and in Dallas ‘Black Lives Matter’ supporters were cheering after police officers were killed.

“Is anyone stepping up and condemning or even attempting to stop these activities or this kind of rhetoric? NO!” the police chief continued. “These actions directly and indirectly influence people looking to take part in negative activities. Our City [sic] supports the initial cause for the creation of ‘Black Lives Matter’ but we do not support violence in any shape or form. Our police forces need to know they have support and wanting ‘dead cops’ is not acceptable.

“I grew up in the 60’s when racial tension was at its height and Martin Luther King was marching and NOT condoning violence in any manner. What is going on today is wrong! I work very hard to ensure accountability among my officers, our discipline boards include police administration as well as civilians. We do not accept negative actions on the parts of our officers and have put procedures in place to protect our community members as well as our officers. Now is the time to mourn the loss of the police officers and the individuals that have fallen as part of the tragic shootings across America. There needs to be discussion and scrutiny of the real issues to better address this situation,” Chief Allen’s statement concluded.

El Paso Police Department officials said the chief would not be granting any interviews and that his statement stands alone, The Times reported.

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