The rally on Saturday was organized to contrast nationwide unrest over fatal police shootings, including the Nov. 22 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at Cudell Recreation Center by a rookie Cleveland police officer. cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/12/cleveland_pro-police_rally_dra.html
Honestly, I think the heart of the problem between police and the public comes down to this main factor: most police departments are staffed by officers who primarily live outside the communities they serve, and often have a racial makeup much different than the communities they serve.
As such, (a) in urban areas, there is often a much higher percentage of white officers than the percentage of white people in the area, making a black civilian being shot at by a white officer much more likely than would otherwise be the case; and (b) the people of the community are much less likely to trust the officers, leading to the officers being in greater danger.
I think the best way to improve this is for the police departments to heavily recruit from their own communities, encourage (or even require) officers to live in the communities they are sworn to protect, and attempt to have a racial makeup similar to the racial makeup of the community being served. It truly is a trust issue.
I’m pretty sure that Cleveland police officers and firefighters have to live within city limits, but they are heavily concentrated in a few neighborhoods.
What I saw of this gathering was positive. I think some want to miscast this as supporting the officers in the Tamir Rice shooting, but there seemed to be more emphasis around officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty and supporting officers in the challenges of their jobs.
Maybe a coming together of the two groups can result in positive interaction in Cleveland.
I tend to side with the police. There is a new incident already to be aware of in Cleveland:
Cleveland woman with mental illness died after police used takedown move, brother says**
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A 37-year-old schizophrenic woman died after police slammed her to the pavement outside her family’s home, her brother said.
Tanisha Anderson was pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic early Thursday after an altercation with officers nearly two hours earlier on the 1300 block of Ansel Road.
The official police account of what happened next is at odds with what several members of Tanisha Anderson’s family said they witnessed.
“As the officers escorted Anderson to the police vehicle, she began actively resisting the officers,” police spokesman Sgt. Ali Pillow said in a press release.
Officers placed her in handcuffs and she began to resist officers’ attempts to put her in a squad car, Pillow said.
“The woman began to kick at officers,” he said. “A short time later the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp. Officers found a faint pulse on the victim and immediately called EMS.”