As the RNC dangerously attempts to ramp up an Us vs. Them divide in regards to Black Lives Matter and police, it’s nice to know that cooler heads are prevailing outside of Cleveland. Just one example: Black Lives Matter protesters in Wichita canceled their planned protest in favor of a joint barbecue between BLM and the Wichita Police Department.
The protesters decided to hold the BLM-WPD-BBQ after meeting with Police Chief Gordon Ramsay (no, not that one). The event — which drew a diverse crowd on July 17 — was pitched as a way for community members to share their concerns with police and for police to share a bit of their own perspective.
Attendees told the Wichita Eagle that they were surprised with how open to their suggestions members of the police department seemed. WPD Lt. Travis Rakestraw in particular admitted that the department needed to emphasize community policing and admitted that police might foster unconscious bias toward African-Americans.
“I don’t think anybody does it intentionally but we fill in the gaps with life experiences, what we read in the paper, and we start to view people as a generalization instead of understanding people as individuals,” he said.
The barbecue ended with an informal Q&A with Ramsay, who took questions from the crowd and opened his office to anyone who felt like they were the victim of abuse.
“If you feel mistreated, I want to know about it,” Ramsay said, before promising that all of his deputies would wear body cameras.
It’s good to know that while the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is talking about going full J. Edgar Hoover on BLM, there are actual police out there who realize that BLM is not the enemy.
(Via Business Insider)