Ford Motor is not going to modify its position as the nation’s top seller of vehicles for U.S. police departments, with the automaker indicating its intention to support law enforcement and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Riots and demonstrations have spread throughout the United States after a cop was caught on tape with his knee on the neck of a man later identified as George Floyd.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett made clear he and the automaker’s chairman, Bill Ford, that they have no plan to reconsider the making and selling of police vehicles, as some employees have called for in letters and virtual town halls following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Bill Ford and I believe deeply that there is no room for the systemic repression and racism that have been exhibited by law enforcement encounters gone wrong. We’ve said clearly that Black Lives Matter,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett wrote in a June 26 internal memo to workers sent Thursday to multiple news outlets, as word of the worker’s requests became public.
Hackett also praised the work of law enforcement, writing “our world wouldn’t function without the bravery and dedication of the good police officers who protect and serve,” while acknowledging that community safety doesn’t include “all members”.
As such, Ford will “continue to be a powerful voice for Black Lives Matter,” the CEO concluded, while also saying that “keep communities safe by producing Police Interceptors and partnering with law enforcement in news ways to strongly support the safety for all members of society”.
A letter circulating at the automaker’s headquarters noted that Floyd’s death took place “alongside a Ford Police Interceptor,” and that days later, police officers had used the same automobiles to drive into crowds of demonstrators in New York City and Los Angeles.
Ford Police Interceptor sedans and sport-utility cars comprise a small portion of the more than 2 million vehicles the company sells in the country every year. Nonetheless, the company’s strength in the police vehicle market is something Ford has highlighted.
In a press release in 2019, Ford noted its “proud history of outfitting law enforcement,” noting that after almost seven decades of selling police cars, it now accounts for almost two-third of U.S. sales of such vehicles.
Among the many corporations that have joined calls for social justice in recent times, Ford in late June cut its social-media spending after the criticism levied on the social media platforms that they haven’t done enough to curtail hate speech.