Ford employees are prodding the company to stop making cop cars amid a nationwide uprising against police brutality.
Ford staffers made the demand in a letter to Chief Executive Jim Hackett and Executive Chairman Bill Ford that was recently circulated at the company’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters, according to news reports.
“Throughout our history, the vehicles that Ford employees design and build have been used as accessories to police brutality and oppression,” the letter reads, according to an excerpt published by the automotive news website Jalopnik. “As an undeniable part of that history and system, we are long overdue to ‘think and act differently’ on our role in racism.”
The excerpt also says that a Minneapolis cop killed George Floyd — whose death sparked a massive wave of protests across the country — next to a Ford Police Interceptor. The concerned employees reportedly want Ford to take action by July 15.
In response, CEO Hackett indicated that Ford won’t be getting out of the market any time soon. While he condemned the “systemic repression and racism” evident in some law-enforcement encounters, Hackett said the “issues plaguing police credibility have nothing to do with the vehicles they’re driving.”
He also suggested that Ford could help the cause by using its cars to provide data to “make police safer and more accountable” rather than taking vehicles away, which would do “harm to their safety and [make] it harder for them to do their job.”
While it’s unclear how many Ford staffers signed the letter, the Detroit Free Press reported that at least 100 employees have called on the automaker to rethink its police vehicle program. The issue has come up in at least one virtual town hall as well as a “series of letters” penned in the wake of Floyd’s death, according to the paper.
Ford’s police vehicles account for roughly 62 percent of the law-enforcement market, the company said. While Ford’s Crown Victoria sedan was once a ubiquitous patrol car, the dominant model is now its Police Interceptor Utility, an SUV that outsold all other police vehicles combined in 2017, according to a 2019 news release.
In a letter to Ford employees that was shared with The Post, CEO Hackett said the company will “continue to be a powerful voice for Black Lives Matter, holding ourselves accountable for significant change, while also continuing to help keep communities safe by producing Police Interceptors and partnering with law enforcement in new ways to strongly support the safety for all members.”
Hackett joined the chiefs of the other big three US automakers — GM’s Mary Barra and Fiat Chrysler’s Mike Manley — in skipping a White House dinner with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday.
With Post wires
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