Building Bridges Between Community and Police

Massive protests have erupted across the country in the wake of shooting deaths in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas.

In Chicago, the simmering tensions between police and minority communities reached a boiling point after the release of the shooting video of Laquan McDonald last November. So where do law enforcement and the communities they're sworn to serve start to heal and end years – if not decades – of suspicion, antagonism and violence? We look at solutions to end the mistrust and contentious relations between minority communities and law enforcement.   

“Policing in our community is the symptom of a larger issue,” said Jedidiah Brown, a pastor and community activist who founded the Young Leaders Alliance, an organization that promotes positive change. “If you really want to fix this relationship issue, then invest in education, invest in jobs and get people the opportunity of a great, quality life in America. That’s why policing is failing.”

Chaclyn Hunt is an attorney and the director of the Invisible Institute Youth/Police Project, which interviews black youth about their experiences with Chicago police. She coordinated a Youth/Police Conference at the University of Chicago Law School last year to report on youth experience with police.

Earlier this year, Hunt co-authored a working paper on Chicago police practices from the perspective of young black people called, “They Have all the Power: Youth/Police Encounters on Chicago’s South Side.” The paper details the ongoing work of the Youth/Police Project.

“The data we have at the Invisible Institute that the city provided shows 25,000 citizen complaints that we know of over the last four years. People aren’t saying nothing, it’s that there is no mechanism of feedback and accountability,” Hunt said.

Brown and Hunt join a panel discussion hosted by Eddie Arruza to talk about some possible solutions. Also joining the discussion are:

Longtime Fox Chicago News anchor Robin Robinson who is now a Chicago Police Department spokesperson and special adviser to Superintendent Eddie Johnson. She is working to foster and strengthen community partnerships with the initiative, Bridging the Divide – Building Bridges to Safer Communities.

Aislinn Pulley, a leader and organizer of Black Lives Matter Chicago.


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