Questions at the public meeting on Ferguson aftermath

Thanks for the Council on Black Minnesotans and Christ United Methodist Church for joining with us Wednesday night to present a conversation on race and justice, in the aftermath of the Ferguson and Staten Island incidents.

We took written questions from the audience and it seemed like a shame not to use all of them, so I promised to post them here. A few are raw and I wouldn't have read aloud in any case, but I'll keep them here as an unfiltered report on where people were at that night.


What are the pros and cons of the nationwide street demonstrations?

How to educate and explain to children of color that the laws are not fair or equal to all men?


Why do the officers have to shoot to kill in these circumstances?

Issac or Jackie- As a black person, what were you told or taught to keep yourself safe in public?

When we tell young black men that the police will not treat them fairly, are we not teaching them that law enforcement is the enemy, and thus setting the stage for more disastrous confrontation?

Justice-relationship - To what degree is racism interrelated with classism? - A great divide between the haves and have nots.

For law officers, what are the fears they have about black men? Why is there increased rate of shooting unarmed men? Going forward, are police department prepared to see their fear, perception (perhaps bias image) of black men when on duty?

How can we diversify our police force as demographics change so we don't end up with 3 police officers who are black when most of the population is? What about the union? How to deal with those who challenge efforts?

Choke holds were banned for 20 years in New York, how can an officer not be held accountable for breaking that law? (Garner case).

All the criticism has been directed toward the police and that they need more training. Is anything being done to make the lawbreaker be more accountable for their actions?


If we remove the power to use deadly force, won't that 1) reduce police aggression, 2) make it easier to prosecute when someone is killed by a cop?

I honestly think the way to get info is from the frontline protestors @ Deray @ netaaa, they are who I follow. They have been there since day one! The live streamers have been amazing.

Mark Ostrem, in a police shooting can something other than a grand jury be utilized?

Roger Peterson, is it not possible to use taser guns in situations like that in Ferguson, Mo.?

The job of a police officer is understandably a hard one. However, I feel that the general public has an all too negative view of police officers. Are there steps that could be taken to avoid this problem?

What is the approximate percentage of minorities on the Rochester Police Department and the legal justice system? (ie count lawyers, judges?) What can be done to recruit more?

A black man has a 28% chance of going to prison. 1) Is this because of white police targeting blacks or is it a deeper problem? 2) Hence, should protests be directed to this issue ____ police brutality?

Sheriff Mueller and Chief Peterson - How can a citizen express their thanks to law enforcement officers for the protection and assistance they provide to us each day? Is a friendly wave to them acceptable?


What processes and organizations are in place in Rochester/Olmsted County to address incidents before they escalate?

Training tools - De-escalation and immobilization.

Has the post 9/11 atmosphere caused the militarization of our police resulting in attitudes of conflict rather than service? Has this widened the racial divide?

What type of training do our Rochester Police and Sheriff deputies receive on dealing with their own racial bias, stereotype and prejudice while doing their jobs safely and effectively?

Should the police always expect during the initial confrontation with a person, that this person react calmly and without concern?

Briefly explain the history of the objectives of the "Grand Jury" as opposed to "Trial juries."

Why are the policies and laws so unbalanced when it comes to people of color? What change needs to be done immediately?

What specific training is the Rochester Police Department bringing forward to "protect" everyone's safety?


How do we as a community break the cycle of racial inequality regarding the police and citizens?

How can police agencies develop outreach programs to elementary, middle and high schools?

Racism is an emotional commitment to ignorance. How do we educate people about race issues when they do not want to be educated?

How much of this comes from the challenging socio-economic situation of many African-Americans, putting them in a daily struggle and more encounters with the law based on this daily struggle, then mixed with fear by officers because of the amount of gun violence they deal with regularly? Economic to prejudice to fear to violence.

Holistic plan for the community. Join movement.

Where is the support for our law enforcement personnel?

Describe crime mapping program and conflict with privacy.

Do we need military equipment for local police?


Selective service exposed people to other races and cultures and therefore more tolerant and understanding. Another reason to restore the draft.

What kinds of "white privilege" do African-Americans experience in Rochester and how can we change that?

Are Rochester police authorized to shoot just because a suspect flees?

For Jackie or Tierre:  How do you think the community can encourage minorities to participate in city and county forums and committees, as well as running for office? Not many minorities here tonight?

I sense the frustration in Ferguson is based on: high unemployment, physical segregation of people of color, under representation of people of color in policy/police ______ How do we prevent that in Rochester/Olmsted County?

Why has there been no discussion of Dillon Taylor, the unarmed white youth shot and killed by a black policeman in Salt Lake City the same week as Brown?

How does the PB help us listen to feelings?

What about the militarism of the police?


Is it necessary to have an ethically diverse police force and how do we encourage that when police have a negative stigma?

How many of us have served on a Grand Jury?

Can the public be informed of all the statistics related to this! Maybe monthly or at least yearly?

1) What is the racial breakdown of city.

2) What are the crimes by race.

3) What are police complaints total.

4) How many police are injured.

5) Need to show if progress is being made.

6) We can't make decision without information. Can the PB regularly report all the relevant statistics?

What makes Rochester different from Chicago What makes one better? Worse?. What can be done to change the "power structure" of the community?

What's next in Rochester?

Why is the New York grand jury lumped in with the Ferguson grand jury? Don't ambiguities exist in Ferguson that don't exist in Manhattan?

In Minnesota, and Rochester is no exception, people -- young men of color -- are stopped, arrested, held, charged, convicted, imprisoned at rates disproportionately higher than their proportion of the population. In fact the highest disparity in the nation. Visit the jail down the street - you will see young black, brown and Asian men locked up. Why? What can the prosecutor, sheriff, and police do about this? What should we all do?

What if Michael Brown was a white child?

Rules of engagement - training of officers -- chain of command.

Why do you think that some people in today's world still have the mentality of racism, being racist towards another? Not counting what happened back in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

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