HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Amidst the pain and protests there is hope and change seen in the dialogue and engagement between officers and protesters right here in Connecticut.
Embers of a national movement catching fire in New Haven this weekend following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Protests spilled onto streets and police stations this weekend. Demands for institutional change and redress of grievances against police use of force on people of color.
“I was around and about the protests, and I have to tell you I’ve seen a lot of positive signs in law enforcement in terms of restraint, ” Quinnipiac University professor Khalfani Ture told News 8. Ture is a former Georgia officer.
He says while police in Connecticut have had their share of controversy over the use of force – including four deadly police shootings this year – departments in our state are ahead of the national curve. Ture says he saw that during Sunday’s protests.
“I witnessed officers displaying solidarity with protesters and explaining to protesters we too disagree with actions of this officer and we too recognize a systemic change needs to occur with regards to law enforcement.”
“I’m proud of Connecticut but we have a long way to go,” Ture added.
Ture says officers’ reactions to protesters are evolving despite prominent displays of force elsewhere in the country. There have been local officers and command staff taking a knee or empathizing with ralliers. The change is incremental but offers hope.
“You see some police departments who are recognizing there’s been a history of police and community relations between the African-American and Latinx community that has been problematic,” explained Ture. “If police officers understand this history we can approach this profession with greater sympathy, greater empathy, and greater commitment to be advocates of structural change.”