A number of Ford employees have asked the car manufacturer to stop producing police vehicles, but the Blue Oval is remaining steadfast in providing such vehicles.
It was recently revealed that a number of Ford employees composed a letter to the company on the back of protests across the United States about police brutality and the death of George Floyd on May 25th at the hands of Minneapolis Police.
In this letter, viewed by Jalopnik, employees state that Ford Explorer Police Interceptors have been driven into crowds during the protests while officers have also been filmed spraying “chemical weapons” (pepper spray) out of Ford Explorers indiscriminately into crowds.
What the employee letter said
“We cannot claim to support the fight against systemic racism while supplying and supporting the very systems that perpetrate violence against Black Americans. Throughout our history, the vehicles that Ford employees design and build have been used as accessories to police brutality and oppression,” the letter reads. “We know that while many join, support, or supply law enforcement with good intentions, these racist policing practices that plague our society are historic and systemic — a history and system perpetuated by Ford for over 70 years—ever since Ford introduced the first-ever police package in 1950.”
Shortly after catching wind of the letter, Ford chief executive Jim Hackett issued an internal memo within the company stating that the automaker can stand for causes like Black Lives Matter while continuing the production of police vehicles.
Ford CEO’s response
“We’ve said clearly that Black Lives Matter and I am personally driving a review of our Diversity and Inclusion rituals, practices and behaviors,” the memo reads. “Second, we also believe the first responders that protect us play an extraordinarily important role in the vitality and safety of our society. Our world wouldn’t function without the bravery and dedication of the good police officers who protect and serve.
“It’s not controversial that the Ford Police Interceptor helps officers do their job. The issues plaguing police credibility have nothing to do with the vehicles they’re driving,” Hackett added.
Ford’s chief executive went on to add that more innovative Ford vehicles with connected services will allow the automaker to build smarter police vehicles that will “provide data that can make police safer and more accountable.”
Hackett concluded by thanking the employees for expressing themselves and sharing their thoughts, but noted that the company would not stop producing police vehicles.
“I do appreciate people speaking their mind to me on this issue – it helped me generate this note to explain why we are continuing our commitment to police forces all over the world in our trusted products,” he said.