Forum on Police/Community Relations – Where Do We Go From Here?
With all the incidents of Police Criminality, Brutality and Misconduct in the news, police-community relations is at an all-time low in the black community. With too many incidents in Ferguson, Chicago, Staten Island, The Bronx and right here in Westchester County being broadcasted almost daily in the mainstream news where black lives are being lost with at the hands of law enforcement officers at an alarming rate with very little accountability.
When the black community continuously experiences incidents like Ramarley Graham, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Herve Gilles, Samuel Cruz and too many others to name them all, where the officers have not been brought to justice, the community begins to lose hope and trust in the law enforcement officers who are paid to protect them and the governing bodies who do not bring the officers to justice. Just last week a 31-year-old black man was shot multiple times by an officer with a history of using excessive force in Mount Vernon, but still continues to carry a badge and a gun.
Truth of the matter is the majority of law enforcement officers do their job correctly and do not violate the policies and procedures. But they find it hard to do their job effectively because of the overshadowing of the news coverage of a few bad apples. The media does not report the good work the police does in the black community, talk about the officers who don’t break the rules and do it right, they only the negative incidences make the news. So its easy for the residents to judge the many by the acts of the few and truthfully the same goes for the police perception in their dealings with the community as well.
So now more than ever, we need to rebuild and repair the relationship between the police and the community. The Urban League of Westchester hoping to take a giant step in that direction with the upcoming forum on Police/Community Relations on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at Pace University Law School in White Plains.
“This event being held by the Urban League of Westchester and Pace Law School is something that truly needs to happen,” says Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. one of the founders and co-chair of the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform “but we should not expect a quick fix when it comes to the issue of police misconduct, brutality, and criminality, however for law enforcement and the community to agree to come together and have this type dialogue gives me hope that we can truly affect positive change if we work together.”