At International Day of Peace Event, Oklahoma City Police Chief and Local Pastor Rev. Jesse Jackson Discuss Plan on Easing Tensions Between Law Enforcement and Minorities

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, senior pastor of East Sixth Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), talks during the "Healing the Breach" community discussion as Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty looks on Monday at Oklahoma City University. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, senior pastor of East Sixth Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), talks during the “Healing the Breach” community discussion as Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty looks on Monday at Oklahoma City University. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]
Views by Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a local pastor, about how to ease tensions between law enforcement and minorities, were the focus of “Healing the Breach,” an recent event at Oklahoma City University in conjunction with the International Day of Peace.

A recent community discussion led by Oklahoma City’s police chief and a local preacher was serious, the statements direct.

Both Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, senior pastor of East Sixth Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1139 NE 6, said tension between police and black residents living on the city’s northeast side has been an issue for many decades.

The pair’s discussion about how to ease tensions between law enforcement and minorities was the focus of “Healing the Breach,” an event held Monday at Oklahoma City University in conjunction with the International Day of Peace.

About 150 people gathered to listen as Jackson and Citty each shared his perspective about relations between minorities and police. The Rev. Don Heath, senior pastor of Edmond Trinity Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), served as moderator.

Presence or occupation?

Jackson, as part of his initiative called “Occupy the Corner-OKC,” stood with local citizens on street corners in northeast Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoons to talk to people and raise awareness about curbing gun violence.

Jackson opened the discussion with a passionate statement about how some people living in northeast Oklahoma City feel as if they live in a “police state” because of the number of police who patrol the streets there. He said “over policing” of the area could lead to unnecessary confrontations between police and residents.

“We have this conversation in boardrooms and barbershops,” Jackson said. “They believe that northeast Oklahoma City is occupied. … By law of averages, the more police in an area, the higher the percentage of confrontation.”

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Source: The Oklahoman |  Carla Hinton