What Happened When Detroit Youth Had Honest Conversations With Police
More than 50 teenagers, canada goose outlet online store along with their parents and grandparents, came to Triumph Church on Feb. 21 for Honor the Line, an canada goose victoria parka outlet event conducted by the BALL Foundation (Bridging Athletic, Learning and Life Skills) to “bridge the gap between young men and law enforcement.”BALL founder and president Randy Henry came up with the local program (similar efforts exist elsewhere) and partnered with Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who spoke about how he’d met the challenge of strained community relations while working in departments from Los Angeles to Portland, canada goose outlet locations in toronto Maine.”How do we build that trust, how do we build respect? With our dialogue, with our communication,” Henry said. “That’s the main reason I put this together.”Beyond building trust, he wanted youth to leave with real life skills for interacting with police safely.The teens in attendance, canada goose outlet england mostly black and male, separated into small groups. Local and state law enforcement officers then spoke informally and conducted role playing exercises to show how to act when stopped by canada goose outlet nyc an officer.Students act out a police stop at the Honor the Line event. Courtesy the Ball Foundation.Students were also given the chance to air grievances and ask questions. In one room, 16 year old Adam Harris had something he wanted to get off his chest.”With all the stuff that’s been going on in the world. I look at police officers iffy,” Harris said, later referencing the police shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown in Missouri last year. In an earlier Q with Craig, one of canada goose outlet trillium parka black the few teens to talk voiced canada goose outlet vancouver his suspicion, saying police are “crooks” who “come for their own thing.”But Harris’ comment seemed different; it was spoken directly to an officer in a mutual attempt to understand each other, and he was really trying to find an answer.Better Detroit Youth Movement co director Harlan Bivens didn’t have a simple answer for Harris, but he advised him to worry less about other people, like friends’ negative attitudes about police or how an officer might mistreat him, and instead concentrate on what he could control, like the reaction he wants to have if he’s stopped by police.Throughout the afternoon, speakers repeated the importance of respecting officers. Henry said in police interactions, both sides are accountable for the outcome.A student canada goose outlet asks Detroit Police Chief James Craig a question at the Honor the Line event. Courtesy the Ball Foundation.As it emphasized respect, the event seemed to gloss over the reasons why young black men feel distrustful of police, as well as how wide of a gap organizers are trying to bridge. Teaching kids that they’re responsible for behaving properly if they want to guarantee their own safety might also strike some as an incomplete strategy for dealing with police community discord, particularly in light of cases like 12 year old Tamir Rice of Cleveland, Ohio, who was holding a toy gun at a park last year when a responding police officer shot the boy within seconds.Bill https://www.canadagoosejacketsalesca.co.uk Larkin, who attended Honor the Line with his grandson, said he has a good relationship with Detroit officers but pressed Craig to acknowledge the different realities for black and white individuals.”Why should a young black child have to act different than a white child with police?” Larkin asked Craig after his speech. “We’ve seen it over and over again, there’s always canada goose outlet 2015 some justification for [use of force incidents]. My concern is, why should my babies have to act differently?”Craig responded that almost all officers are good cops.”Do not paint the entire police department with a broad brush because of the acts of one or two,” he said.BALL Foundation vice president Carmen Henry acknowledged racial disparities but said that to create change, people should focus on constructive solutions, instead of dwelling on the negative.Since Craig took over the struggling department in 2013, he’s made demonstrative efforts to reduce crime and be more responsive to residents. Detroiters have generally approved of Craig including many at the Honor the Line event though the Detroit Police Department has recently come under scrutiny for several controversial drug raids canada goose outlet uk sale and is now facing a lawsuit.Harris’ mother, Banita, moved her family from Detroit to a neighboring suburb a couple years ago after her home was broken into eight times in seven years.”I don’t feel comfortable laying my head in Detroit right now,” Harris told The Huffington Post over the phone. “Until you can call the police and they actually come”Harris, who did not attend BALL’s event, wants her son to have a good relationship with police.”I teach him to stay respectful, but you also have to know your rights,” she said. “If the police can come into the neighborhoods and show they are people too, and not every police officer is a bad police officer, I think that would help.”Adam Harris, first teen from the left in gray, and other students listen in a workshop at the Honor the Line event. Courtesy the Ball Foundation.It’s difficult to gauge the impact of one afternoon of discussion, but Henry sees it as a first step. A follow up event is in the works for April, and Craig said he would continue working with the program.Some students seemed unmoved by the workshops and left early. Others talked about what they learned; one said she enjoyed telling officers her feelings about police.
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