New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in 2014
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called out the police for their responsibility in the “unequal nature of the relationship” between African Americans and police, pointing out that they were responsible for “many of the worst parts of black history,” DNAinfo New York reports.

Bratton made his remarks while addressing the crowd at a Black History Month event at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in the Jamaica section of the city’s borough of Queens.

“Slavery, our country’s original sin, sat on a foundation codified by laws and enforced by police, by slave catchers,” Bratton reportedly said, pointing out that “many of the worst parts of black history would have been impossible without police.”

The commissioner used New York’s own history as an example, pointing to Dutch settler Peter Stuyvesant’s arrival in then-New Amsterdam. Stuyvesant’s first action, Bratton noted, was to build a police force before using enslaved people to build the colony, according to the news site.

“Since then, the stories of police and black citizens have intertwined again and again,” Bratton added. “The unequal nature of that relationship cannot and must not be denied.”

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Read more at DNAinfo New York.