Trump's former DHS chief: 'Of course' racism exists in police departments all over America
Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin K. McAleenan. CBP Photo by Glenn Fawcett.

A former top Trump administration official on Friday broke with his former boss and said that police departments across the United States have problems with systemic racism.

Former acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan writes at CNN that the death of George Floyd has given police departments across the country an opportunity to rethink how they operate.

However, he says that doing so will require taking a hard look at the issue of racism within law enforcement.

"There is a path for them to galvanize healing while representing and supporting the vast majority of honorable men and women of all races under their command," he writes. "The demonstrations have also sparked one question that has resonated across the media spectrum: is there systemic racism in American policing? The answers have varied, but the truth is that of course there is."

He then encourages police chiefs across the country to "identify with the purpose and message of the peaceful protesters" and "embrace the pain of disenfranchised communities and recognize the role that some in their organizations have in causing it."

McAleenan's words stand in sharp contrast to President Donald Trump, who has refused to acknowledge that racism plays a role in creating disparities in the American criminal justice system.