1962 February 9

Police Chiefs Hold 5-day Closed Meeting on Desegregation; Agree that Federal Law is Supreme


Police chiefs from 24 cities on this day ended a closed, 5-day meeting on racial desegregation. Meeting in New York City, with no outsiders present, the group ended by agreeing that federal law is “supreme.” Reportedly, pr0-integration and pro-segregation speakers appeared, but all discussions were civil. Police chiefs attending the meeting represented Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Little Rock, Newark, New York City, and Washington, DC, among others. The title of the meeting was “The Challenge of Desegregation on the American Police Executive. It was sponsored by New York University and funded by a private foundation. Dr. William P. Brown, an Inspector with the New York City Police Department, served as moderator.

Racist and abusive practices by the police were major contributors to the urban riots of the 1960s, between 1964 and 1968. These practices were documented by the Kerner Commission report, released on February 29, 1968.

Learn more about the role of police misconduct in contributing to the riots of the 1960s: National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders [the Kerner Commission], Report (1968)

Read excerpts from the Kerner Commission report here.

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