Some key issues which Robin Toma (Executive Director of the L. A. County Human Relations Commission) mentioned in a Pomona Community Dialogue on Community-Police Relations on May 22 — but were not covered in the Daily Bulletin article (link to article is below):
– The Los Angeles Human Relations Commission was developed out of the Zoot Suit and Sleepy Lagoon cases back in the 1950’s.
– Throughout its history, the commission has been called on to deal with police misconduct.
– Police/Community Relations are critical – especially when communities fear the police.
– In every community, there are instances of unjust violence by police against civilians.
– Have to recognize that different outcomes are based on the color of one’s skin.
– It is important to rely on communities to pressure police departments.
– Conflict can have its positive aspects.
– Twenty-first Century training has to include changing “implicit bias.”
– Police have a lot of power – and there is a need to ensure that there is no abuse of this power.
– There is a need for civilian oversight, subpoena powers, and use of independent prosecutors.
– Finally, the solutions need to prioritize the investment in community health, education, jobs, housing, substance abuse, and gang intervention.
– Community dialogues, such as this one, are essential in starting a conversation on these issue and to develop collaboration and find common ground in getting at the roots of community violence.