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EXCLUSIVE: The truth about being a Black police officer

Following the police killing of George Floyd last year, protests against police brutality and systemic racism erupted across the globe. Escalating tensions have led to many clashes between groups as well as uncomfortable conversations between friends and family.

Caught in the middle are Black police officers who feel torn between the colour of their skin and their uniform.

In a CityNews exclusive collaboration, Sportsnet’s Donnovan Bennett spoke with three Black officers at Peel Police headquarters to get their unfiltered perspective on some tough topics.


GEORGE FLOYD

Video footage of his final moments was the catalyst for a global movement against police brutality and systemic racism. George Floyd’s death led to an outpouring of anger, hurt, and frustration. The officers speak about how they deeply feel all of those emotions while at the same time feeling very conflicted.


RELATED: George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure, according to family autopsy


TORONTO RAPTORS

It was one of the most memorable nights in Canadian sports history, the Toronto Raptors clinching their first ever NBA championship. Team president Masai Ujiri, on his way to the court to celebrate with the team, was stopped by a U.S. law enforcement officer which led to a physical altercation that was caught on video. The officers reflect back on allegations that racism played a role in how the situation unfolded that night.


RELATED: ‘Because I am Black’: Raptors president Ujiri speaks out after altercation video released


DEFUNDING POLICE

This past year, protests across the globe over systemic racism and police brutality changed the world as we know it, leading to calls to defund police forces. The officers share their thoughts about how they feel and deal with the growing anti-police sentiment and why they actually agree with some of the calls to defund the police.


RELATED: Protestors paint ‘Defund The Police’ in front of Toronto police headquarters


BLACK LIVES VS BLUE LIVES

Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter are two opposing groups and movements with very divisive messages. The officers speak about how they balance their dual allegiances.


RELATED: The history of Black Lives Matter Toronto and its momentous fight for change


TALKING TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS

A number of emotional and sensitive discussions are occurring at this time between members of the public, community leaders and police officials. For three Peel police officers, some of the most difficult discussions of late are occurring within their own private lives. The officers open up about the uncomfortable conversations they are having with friends, family and co-workers.