A protester holds a banner outside RWJBArnabas Health
Screenshot: NorthJersey.com Video

Police “activists” in New Jersey staged a protest outside of the employer of a black healthcare administrator who made a Facebook comment referencing police implicit bias against black people, and they say they will continue to do so until she is “held accountable” for her comments.

NorthJersey.com reports that around 50 members of the national law enforcement organization Brothers Before Others stood outside the West Orange offices of RWJBarnabas Health where Michellene Davis is an executive vice president.

As previously reported on The Root, when a friend of hers shared a NorthJersey.com article on Facebook that announced schools in Fair Lawn, NJ would be employing armed police officers to guard campuses, Davis responded with a comment from her personal Facebook account which asked, “Who is going to train them not to shoot black children first?!?”

She was of course referring to the extrajudicial shootings of black people by the police—shootings which have included some children and teens. Brothers Before Others believes her comment was “baseless and egregious” and anti-police.

Advertisement

Davis apologized for the comment and was subsequently suspended by her employer, but she was reinstated earlier this month.

Brothers Before Others also took issue with RWJBarnabas Chief Executive Officer Barry H. Ostrowsky, who they claim “doubled down” on Davis’s comments when he wrote a statement saying RWJBarnabas Health wants to take a leadership position in social issues, including “violence in all its forms.” The statement said that Davis is the proper executive to lead the Social Impact and Community Investment Practice for RWJBarnabas Health.

“For a senior VP of a hospital to come out with that statement demonizing police when that’s not even close to the problem is egregious,” Rob O’Donnell, director of media relations for Brothers Before Others, told NorthJersey.com. “Our police are risking everything to protect these children in the schools and are running toward gunfire when there are shootings and she’s accusing them of indiscriminately attacking black children?”

Advertisement

The protesters had flyers with them that declared of 1.2 million violent crimes nationally in 2017, police only used deadly force in 987 of those cases, and 99.5 percent were against armed subjects. Additionally, the flyers said that police use of deadly force is down 70 percent and at a 40-year low.

The protesters say they don’t want Davis to lose her job; they just want her to be held accountable—whatever that means. Until that happens and until RWJBarnabas recognizes the stats in the flyers, Brothers Before Others president Michael Burke told NorthJersey.com that the organization will continue to rally.

Organization members say that Davis’s statement could cause people to have heightened emotions and possibly lead to danger in the streets.

Advertisement

You know, because people are reacting to the words of a hospital administrator and not actual hardcore factual evidence in the news of police shooting black people with impunity.

“She wants to paint the police with this false narrative that we’re out there murdering unarmed black children when it’s just utterly false,” O’Donnell told NorthJersey.com.

These activists are oversimplifying the issue and trying to narrow it down and make it just about Jersey police when in fact it is a national problem and widespread epidemic. Their arguments are intellectually lazy and disingenuous.

Advertisement

This is obviously a planned stunt meant to cause more problems for Ms. Davis.

It is also yet another demonstration of how the “not all” argument works to derail an actual movement.

These officers are more concerned with being labeled killers than they are with trying to actively do something about the stigma that is out there because of others who wear uniforms just like they do.

Advertisement

But, what else can you expect from a police organization called Brothers Before Others?

Their name says it all.