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Killing Of Missouri Teen Reminds San Diegans Of Problems Between Minorities And Police

Evening Edition

Aired 8/18/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Mario Lewis, president, 100 Strong, southeastern San Diego-based group dedicated to strengthening the community.

Detective Sgt. Ben Kelso, president, San Diego Black Police Officers Association

Lei-Chala Wilson, president, NAACP San Diego chapter.

Transcript

Confidential SDPD Hotline

The San Diego Police Department has set up a confidential hotline for community members to call with concerns about police practices. The hotline number is (619) 531-2672.

On Monday, more disturbing images were seen from Ferguson, Missouri.

Once again, crowds protesting the killing of black teenager Michael Brown were met with tear gas, after violating a state-imposed curfew.

The fallout from the shooting of Brown has reverberated across the country.

Black community groups in San Diego, as well as the San Diego Police Department, are evaluating law enforcement equity in our city.

Lei-Chala Wilson, president of the NAACP chapter in San Diego, said restoring order in Ferguson is important, but Brown's death reminds her of the challenges in the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities.

"You might look at it as one tragic shooting, but it also follows on many other tragic shootings," she said, listing the recent shootings of Eric Gardner in New York, Trayvon Martin and Jordon Davis in Florida, and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles.

"It's not one tragic shooting, but when you look over the years there have been many shootings where black men who were unarmed were killed by the police. Restoring order is not going to change why it happens, and it's not going to stop it from happening again," Wilson said. "That fixes Ferguson, but it's not fixing all the other cities where this happens."

Wilson said the goal should be working on the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities.

Ben Kelso, president of the San Diego Black Police Officers Association, said despite the tragic situation he urged people "not to rush to judgment on what the facts that have led to the incident are."

"It's really important for law enforcement around the nation to also watch this incident take place and unfold," Kelso said, "and talk about it amongst their own agencies to determine what is the best learning points to take out of a situation like this."

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