Police Talk About Recent Unrest
Recent police shootings across America have raised the tension level in many large cities this summer – and the news media have been blamed by some for contributing to the unrest. In an effort to head off a similar incident taking place locally, the Justice & Civil Rights Initiative invited members of the media to meet with a law enforcement representative today to address the issue. Bill Wineman, Jacksonville’s Assistant Police Chief, says the problem often starts with the national media who demand information from police even before officers have a chance to begin investigating. Wineman says that puts police on the spot and makes it appear that officials are trying to hide the facts. Ed Moore the Third, founder of the JCRI, says that activist groups such as his should work with the police instead of going straight to the media. Moore says that while activist groups often represent the interests of families affected by police shootings, they should also consider how their actions affect the larger communities involved in these incidents. Wineman added that police officers usually feel more comfortable talking with reporters from the local media who have built trust with the law enforcement community. That kind of trust, he says, is a two-way relationship.