Members of the NAACP Spartanburg Chapter organized a community forum, on Thursday night, at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
They invited Spartanburg community leaders with hopes of improving the relationship between Upstate law enforcement and the African American community.
“I think some of the mistrust, distrust — it goes back years, especially in the communities of people of color,” said Spartanburg Police Chief, Alonzo Thompson.
The panel for “Policing Our Community and Saving Our Children” also included Superintendent for Spartanburg District Seven, Dr. Russell Booker. All panelists spent an hour answering questions from the community.
“It’s so important for our parents, our communities to stay engaged — meaningful engagement,” said Booker.
The event was partially organized in response to recent national videos of police brutality which have raised major concerns here at home.
“You have roughly 50% of the jail population being African American men when they’re only 13% of the population. That helps feed that mistrust and distrust,” said Chief Thompson.
While many used the outlet to voice frustrations, leaders say these conversations go a long way and are a great first step for change.
Members of the NAACP say they plan on hosting similar events in the future.