Parents, leaders cry out against ‘police brutality’

Mike McGee | 7/3/2014, 2:17 p.m.
“Do you know anything about the brutality in our midst?” Dr. Brenda Wall, pastor of Counseling and Christian Education at ...
Dr. Cornel West speaks during a town hall meeting on police brutality at Friendship-West Baptist Church on June 20. Mike McGee

West maintained that he and other supporters of changes in police policy were not hostile to law enforcement itself.

“No, we’re not anti-police. We want police to treat our young people with respect and dignity like anybody else,” he emphasized to tremendous applause.

Torrance Walker, himself a young African American resident of the city, said he appreciated the keynote speaker’s approach of focused purpose on the issue rather than vengeance.

“I feel that he has very, very powerful motivational messages that can affect people in a positive way,” he expressed after hearing West speak.

Walker also admitted that he felt optimism when he saw so many people under the church’s roof uniting for the cause.

“Things are the way they are because, to be truthful, things have gotten out of hand. We, collectively as a people, have strayed away from God. But like [West] said, people can always change.”

Wall said that the night was special not just because of the principal involved but also due to the connections that MAPB was creating.

“I think it’s important because we have a marriage of community and church, we have a marriage of oppressive police brutality and police who are doing the right thing,” she said.

Wall described the turnout as a “mobilization of the masses” and praised West’s skill at bringing people together.

“You look over and you see politicians, you see grassroots people, you see entrepreneurs, you see people who have been injured by police brutality, and you see people who are actually a part of law enforcement,” she decreed. “So all of us – looking at how we can have a different kind of social justice in our midst.”