Police to discuss race relations at forum

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Western New Yorkers and people around the United States are demanding change in police and race relations. The cries are getting louder, and there are demonstrations around the nation.

Demonstrators will have a chance to talk directly to law enforcement leaders Tuesday, at a police and community forum on Buffalo’s east side. Buffalo Police, New York State Police, the NFTA and the FBI are among the agencies expected at the meeting.

“Don’t go out into the community and tell them how good we’re doing. But listen, to what are the concerns and the perceptions and the accolades from those communities.” – Darius Pridgen

The forum is happening at 6 p.m. Tuesday, at the Mount Olive Baptist Church on East Delavan. City leaders hope it can start a dialogue on how to regain the community’s trust, and build a better relationship.

Protests in Buffalo and around the U.S. started after two grand juries, one in Missouri, one in New York City, decided not to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men.

There are some signs that relationships with police in Buffalo might be changing. Pastor and Common Council President Darius Pridgen wants Buffalo Police to have to give the common council more information when an officer is being investigated for misconduct.

Pridgen explained, “We are requesting at this point that the administration will have a listening and learning tour across the city, east side, west side, north side, south side. And don’t go out into the community and tell them how good we’re doing. But listen, to what are the concerns and the perceptions and the accolades from those communities.”

Pridgen said it is important to hear from both people who want change with police relations, and people who have seen police doing good things in their communities.

The common council did reinstate a police oversight committee to review any cases of suspected misconduct earlier this year.

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