LEWISTON — Mayor Mark Cayer will meet with the Lewiston police patrol union Monday following its sharp rebuttal to a City Council resolution that condemned racial profiling and excessive force by police in the city.

Cayer confirmed Friday that he had scheduled the meeting with the police union, stating that City Council President Michel Lajoie will join him Monday.

He said he reached out to the police patrol union following its statement sent to officials last week, which addressed the council’s resolution while issuing demands for more training and body cameras for officers.

Cayer did not go into detail on what he plans to discuss during the meeting, but said, “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet with our officers. I appreciate that our officers work every day to protect and serve our community. I have no doubt our meeting will be productive with the best interest of our community in mind.”

Cayer is a former police officer, while Lajoie is a former Lewiston fire chief and state representative who served on the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

In its statement last week, the Lewiston police patrol union said it stands by the City Council in its “commitment to achieving equality and equal justice for all and condemning any and all racially discriminatory policing practices.”

But, it goes on to say that the council, when “presented with an opportunity to simultaneously condemn these acts as well as recognize the progressive and proactive actions of the members whom the Lewiston Patrol Union represents … chose to both openly and covertly associate our officers with current national events, disputable studies and historical incidents which are extraneous to the current state of policing in Lewiston, Maine.”

The union also requested that the council fund body cameras for all police personnel; institute mandatory paid monthly use-of-force training for all patrol officers and detectives; and require all city councilors to attend a Citizen Police Academy course, “Shoot/Don’t Shoot” training and at least five patrol ride-alongs within one year of taking office.

The council resolution, introduced by Lewiston’s only Black city councilor, Safiya Khalid, passed with a 6-1 vote on the heels of Black Lives Matter protests in Lewiston and across the nation. During a public hearing on the resolution, several people identifying themselves as Black residents said they’ve seen racial profiling by police in Lewiston.

The resolution commits the city to conduct anti-bias and deescalation training for police personnel, expand efforts to recruit and hire individuals from minority communities, and through an ad hoc committee, review the process by which citizen complaints against police officers are investigated.

Councilor Lee Clement, who provided the only dissenting vote, argued it sent the wrong message to local police. However, other councilors said much of the resolution only recommitted the Police Department to policies it was already following.

“It strikes a balance between acknowledging that our Police Department has done work but has work to do, and commits us to that,” Councilor Alicia Rea said.

The final version of the resolution included language referring to the Police Department’s more proactive measures, including a longstanding policy that prohibits its officers from using chokeholds or strangleholds, and that the department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies “as a result of its adoption of a full range of the best practices, policies, and procedures, and that the department has worked hard to develop a strong and positive relationship with all members of our community.”

The 2018 study referred to in the union’s response came from the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, and Washington University, which found that police use of force is the sixth leading cause of death for young black men and black men in general are about 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police.

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