DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Police Chief Robert White and Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall met on Tuesday after Marshall’s actions at the NFL season opener when he chose to kneel instead of stand during the national anthem.
“It became pretty clear to me that his kneeling was to speak to the injustices that are going on across our country. But I think he also realizes that most of the men and women in law enforcement and especially those in Denver are doing the right thing every single day,” said White.
Marshall and White discussed police policy on Tuesday and how Marshall can support officers in the Denver community.
“He had questions as relates to policing: Why do police do what they do? Which obviously I was in position to give him reasonable explanation,” said White. “He was curious about officers getting involved in incidents, they’re controversial and they’re still on the job, or their actions are illegal.
“A lot of times citizens are asking how come the person didn’t get locked up, how come the officer didn’t get indicted, how come they didn’t get suspended… and I think Brandon was thinking those things also.
“My response to Brandon is, while many people, and maybe even you Brandon, are asking why the officer got off because it appeared he or she broke the law when in most incidents they didn’t break the law.”
White also addressed issues that have plagued the Denver Police Department in the past.
“We’ve made a litany of changes in our department to speak to not only training officers on the legality of the laws but really have them understand the great discretion they have and using that discretion they have using that for the greater good of the community,” said White. “I assured him that our department is working on those things, working on making decisions that aren’t just legal but are also necessary and working on the importance of valuing everybody’s life.”
White said he and Brandon discussed many difficult topics and also had a great conversation.
“We have a couple things in common. Our mothers played a significant role in us growing up even though it was different parts of the country. That was a productive conversation talking about our pasts,” said White.
White also invited Marshall to go through a simulator that puts officers in situations where they only have seconds to determine whether to shoot or not.
“I think he’s a respectful young man and doesn’t have any ill will against the police force or the military,” said White.
Marshall has faced criticism after he went down on one knee during last week’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers. Marshall said he will once again kneel during the national anthem on Sunday at soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
White said whether he agrees or disagrees with Marshall’s actions is irrelevant.
“I think as a chief and a law enforcement person I have a responsibility to protect the rights of everyone as it relates to the constitution,” said White.
Marshall has lost two sponsors since his actions. CenturyLink became the second company to announce ending an endorsement deal with Marshall.
Marshall said he’s spoken with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a former college teammate, about the protest for “social justice.”