“Community-Police Relations” I find it problematic for the same reason I find the term “race relations” problematic. It’s a euphemism used to soften the reality of the issue. You often find politicians using the term “race relations” instead of “racism” or “white supremacy” because “race relations” makes it sound like the issue of racism in America is neither systemic nor one-sided. It seeks to soften the reality. “Race relations” implies that the problem isn’t America’s long history of systemic racism and white supremacy, but rather an issue of how different races interact with each other. It creates a false equivalency between systemic racism which we know to be a fact of life in America and those who are oppressed by it. It implies that there’s a shared responsibility in racial tensions being what they are and that’s simply not true.
“Community-police relations’ serves the same function. Politicians use this term instead of “police brutality” or “police accountability” which more accurately describes the issue. The problem isn’t how communities feel about the police, the problem is the documented history both past and present of police behaving abusively toward Black communities and facing no accountability for it. “Community police relations” implies that there’s an equivalence between police brutalizing people without consequence and communities feeling negatively toward police because of this brutalization. But there’s no balance of power whatsoever between police forces which are weaponized and have the full backing of the most powerful nation on earth and the communities that have been oppressed for decades by these very institutions.