Louisville police reform, race relations discussed at church meeting with city leaders

Louisville police reform, race relations discussed at church meeting with city leaders

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As people across the country continue to have conversations about race relations and police reform, one church in Louisville invited the community to do the same thing. King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church opened their doors Friday night to talk about "where do we go from here."

"Let's start now," Reverend Charles Elliott Jr. told the group. "Don't put no band-aid on it. Let's start now."

The room was filled with community members, pastors, and police officers.

“Do you not know, we could take Louisville. This is a good opportunity to make it an example for all of the other cities all over the world,” Elliot told them.

Those in attendance told WAVE 3 News they believe conversations like these are important.

“We have to come together and lay aside our differences,” Wanda Mcintyre said. “This is not a black issue, it’s not a white issue. It’s a people issue. It’s a people issue that must agree we disagree on some things, but some things we have to agree on and that’s life.”

Elliott called on each person there to work together.

“This city belongs to us,” he told WAVE 3 News. “And we got to live together. We want to clean up the west end of Louisville. We want to clean up the south end of Louisville by loving each other. That’s why I called this meeting. I want all of us to know we are in this together.”

The Metro Council passed a budget this week putting millions of dollars into fixing abandoned homes and creating ways for more Black homeownership. The budget also includes funds for a civilian review system and plans to use LMPD funds for police reform.

Metro Council President David James encouraged people to remember police officers are human, too.

“We entrust the police department, and we entrust government to protect us,” James told the group. “Sometimes that doesn’t work out the way we want it to or it should. But they are still our neighbors. And so if we want to fix all the things that are going wrong, we still have to treat them like they are our neighbors.”

LMPD’s Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder was there along with several other officers, promising he and the department hear the message. He also said he believes small meetings like Friday night are the first step towards healing.

“Our police officers are listening to what you’re saying,” Schroeder told those in attendance. “Our police officers are hurting alongside you. And I guarantee that both myself and our police officers understand that we need a change. And I think you’ve seen a little bit of change so far, but I promise you there is a whole lot more change coming.”

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