CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – A discussion was held Sunday night in Clemson to address the fear communities feel when interacting with police. The meeting was in response to several recent deaths at the hands of law enforcement, including Keith Scott in Charlotte.
The conversation at times grew tense, but the discussion, according to community leaders, was needed now more than ever.
Rashard Hall, an NFL player and Clemson Grad student organized the Clemson University event “Ignorance is not Bliss” over the summer. He says he was fed up then and is even more now with how many black men are being killed by police.
“We see these shootings everyday. Not every single day, but month to month,” said Hall. “I don’t have answers or specific change, but what I wanted to do was bring about some people that would at least inspire someone to have the change that is inside of them.”
The panel of local law enforcement officers, activists and students mostly talked about how they believe education could be a way to end the tragedies.
“We are going to be the next generation that faces all of these problems and keeps the conversation open and develops the policy,” Nicholaus Outen, a Clemson senior and the Black Student Union Vice President. “Emotions will be high. This is a very sensitive topic. You know, as long as we can continue to engage in open dialogue and forums, we can help create policy and move forward.”
The audience was able to take their fear of law enforcement directly to the police and officers were able to address the struggles they see every day.
“Some officers do step out of the legal parameters. It outrages law enforcement,” Eric Hendricks, the Clemson University Chief of Police. “There are good men and women out there on the job trying to do the right thing.”
The crowd and panel agreed, the only way to make positive change is to keep the conversation going and growing.