The New Zealand Police Association is calling on Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon to retract his claim that "police are racist".
Association president Chris Cahill says the statement is "nothing less than a body blow" to officers from diverse backgrounds including "Māori, Pasifika, Asian, Indian, and Pakistani".
He says they've now all been "lumped in one 'racist' basket".
Foon made his comments while discussing concerns over reality television show Police Ten 7 featuring racist stereotypes in a Newstalk ZB interview on Monday morning.
He told Newstalk ZB he agreed with Auckland councillor Efeso Collins' call to TVNZ on Sunday to cancel the show due to its portrayal of "young brown people".
Foon said the show did "target more brown people than white people so, therefore, it is racist".
He then cited a 2019 Tactical Options Research report which showed Māori are disproportionately subjected to the use of force by police.
Asked if the statistics reflected more on the actions of those being arrested, Foon replied: "The police are racist."
But Cahill is slamming the comment as uninformed: "As Race Relations Commissioner I would have thought Mr Foon would use his position to promote an informed debate about the many issues which contribute to the over-representation of Māori in negative statistics across our society including justice, education, health, family violence, drug use and mental health."
He adds the report Foon quoted, which shows Māori are more than seven times more likely than Pākehā to be subjected to force such as Tasers, pepper spray and firearms, was used "out of context without the background behind the offending".
"That this country's Race Relations Commissioner would put the blame on police, and then double down on that, is a waste of an opportunity to consider all parts of this picture," Cahill says.
"It seems Mr Foon, now on record with a sweeping claim about police being racist, has excluded himself from bringing the skills and knowledge of his position to any future work police may want to do on an issue it is committed to addressing."
With an increasingly diverse police force graduating from Police College each year, Cahill says Foon's comment will also detract from those whose "very presence will be extremely influential on the future of policing in Aotearoa".