Community Forum Held In Oklahoma City In Response To Memphis Police Videos
Disturbing video showing the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police sparked a national conversation. A community forum at Oklahoma City's Tower Theater was held Sunday night in response to Nichols’ death.
"That is not what the uniform the oath that we take, what we're supposed to do as police officers, which is protect the public there was none of that I saw in that video," said Chief Wade Gourley with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
The forum held a panel of law enforcement, city council members, civil rights leaders, and a pastor. All were available to start conversations on ways to come together as a community to stop the violence.
"We found that the easiest way to resolve the problem is to be transparent,” said Civil Rights Leader Marilyn Luper-Hildreth.
Discussions included several topics, including how to file a complaint on an officer, the process of an arrest and how to build trust between law enforcement and the community.
"I think we want to be heard more,” said Putnam City West Senior Amaya Harris. “I think there is a lack of youth involvement and so much affects us every single day.”
Harris, along with another student, spoke about changes they would like to see, including a better relationship between police and students. They asked if the police chief in attendance would be willing to come into the schools once a semester to help build those relationships.
"It's all based off if the officers want to change it,” said Alasia Smith, a senior at John Marshall High School. “And if they don't, then they won’t, and they'll forever hear from us.”
Despite the tough discussions, many remain hopeful for change.
"We know the change won't happen overnight, but the change is individuals that look like them not dying on the streets,” said Oklahoma City Public Schools Administrator Rodney Cox.
Organizers say this is the first of many forums they hope to hold in the future.
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