City leaders come together for round table discussion on police and community relations

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - It's been a year since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO touched off a series of riots and protests around the nation and today, as Cincinnati reels from another officer involved shooting, FOX19 NOW brought together faith leaders, law enforcement and elected officials for a round table discussion.

FOX19 NOW hosted the round table because, in light of the recent police shooting of Sam DuBose, we felt that there needed to be an open and honest discussion about the state of police-community relations and what needs to be improved.

State Rep. Alicia Reece (D) Bond Hill says it was an opportunity to let the community know how much their leaders care.

"I do think the fact that 19 you stopped and said listen we're going to do this I think tells the community that this is a big issue," Reece said. 

The Reverend Damon Lynch III says this open discussion offers hope.

"More understanding, people being able to see through each other's lenses to understand each other and after this we continue to work together to address some of these major issues major disparities that exist in our communities," Lynch said.

Civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein says what UC is doing is a step in the right direction.

"It's listening, but it's also asking the right questions. We heard yesterday that UC is going to do a review of their police department. That's great, but the issue is what questions are going to be asked and how is the public going to be able to participate in it," said Gerhardstein.

The panelists believe this kind of discussion needs to be held in the community especially with younger people, people like UC student Page Freudiger whose father is a UC police officer. She says police-community relations are complicated.

"I don't know exactly what to do. I know that keeping them on campus for a minute until this whole like settles down is a good idea," Freudiger said.

Cincinnati is credited with being a model for community police relations, but the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose have caused some to have their doubts, but retired federal Judge Nathaniel Jones says progress is a long game.

"It seems as though each time we make progress along comes some event to lead to a setback and so it's been an effort to be persistent," said Jones.

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black says the round table is also an opportunity to work toward solutions.

"Decreasing the various gaps that are out there. Income gaps, health inequity gaps, etc, I think that if we are able to work on those kinds of things it'll go a long ways in helping us to deal with the race question from a more global perspective," said Black.

FOX19 NOW Legal Analyst Mike Allen says round tables can be helpful in troubled times. "Just this kind of discussion, I think, is what at least suppresses, for a time, some frustration that may be out in the community," Allen said. 

You can view the entire discussion by logging onto our website at FOX19 and you can give us your feedback by using #LetsTalkNOW on social media.

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