NewsBlack History Month


Black law enforcement veteran from Colorado gives straight talk on injustice

Posted at 11:35 PM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-23 01:35:38-05

DENVER -- Former head of the Denver ATF Field Division Matthew Horace spoke in Five Points this week about his new book “The Black and The Blue.”

Horace has 28 years working in local, state and federal law enforcement. His book reveals the crimes, racism and injustice in law enforcement.

"People who would say that there is no racism I either think they have their heads in the sand or they just intentionally don't want to acknowledge it,” Horace said.

Horace says injustice starts with policy.

He busted down doors during the War on Drugs in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A time when mandatory sentencing laws lead to mass incarceration in the black community.

"I've been on search warrants where we were looking for 5, 10, 20 grams of crack cocaine and arresting eight people in a house when we find it," Horace says.

The now growing opioid epidemic, that affects mostly white communities, has a different policy.

"We have officers who have been provided Narcan to provide heroin addicts who possess. Heroin is an illegal drug. Officers are not arresting people high on heroin, they are giving them help," Horace said.

In his book, Horace breaks down the hiring practices, lack of training and flat out bias that lead to so many police shootings.

"Some of the cases we talk about like New Orleans, Chicago and others - these are people that should never have made it to police academies and they are given a lot of authority with a gun and a badge and the authority and permission to go out and enforce laws," he said.

Horace also says the public still doesn’t understand policing and how police don’t always understand the communities they service.

And a lot more must change for things to get better.

"I think a lot more can be done there has to be a commitment for wholesale criminal justice reform not just in policing but in the judiciary, the prosecution. The public has to have greater empathy and greater compassion," Horace said.