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Where does police brutality fit in America’s first law enforcement museum?

Category: Community Engagement & Impact
Five police officers in full riot gear lined up across a city street at night.
Riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September 2016. For the most part the National Law Enforcement Museum is uncritical and steers clear of politics. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Displays of emotionally charged objects such as Osama Bin Laden’s pakol hat, a police body camera and uniform worn by Captain Ron Johnson (who took over security operations in Ferguson, Missouri) will likely engage visitors to this new museum. How the tensions these items represent will be interpreted and explored could be one of the greatest challenges facing both the museum and its visitors.

Asked if the police have a public relations problem, and if the museum is aiming to help solve it, chief executive Craig Floyd said: “I think this museum will become a platform for very thoughtful, important discussions that need to occur between the public and law enforcement. We have a lot of those programmes already planned.”

-David Smith

The Washington institution is likely to spark debate over whether it gets the tone right in an era of police shootings and allegations of racism

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