Barack Obama calls for local leaders to review police use-of-force policies

Watch live: Barack Obama to discuss police violence in online town hall

June 3 (UPI) — Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on local leaders to review and reform tactics for police force during an online town hall in the wake of the police-involved killing of George Floyd.

Participating in the event titled “A conversation with President Obama: Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence,” Obama called on every mayor to review use-of-force policies and pursue a series of police reforms including mandatory de-escalation of conflicts, bans on shooting at moving vehicles, timely reporting of violent incidents and prohibiting certain forms of restraint.

“Chokeholds and strangleholds, that’s not what we do,” he said.

Obama added officials in New York City and Chicago had agreed to take up the measures and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted Wednesday evening that she would accept the former president’s challenge.

“I will issue an executive order establishing a commission of stakeholders and organizers to examine our use-of-force policies and call upon them to make recommendations accordingly,” said Bottoms.

Obama added that he believes the “vast majority” of police officers are not violent and suggested many would support the proposed reforms.

He also expressed support for those who have taken to the streets nationwide to protest the killing of Floyd and other African Americans, adding he believes only a small percentage have acted violently.

“Every step of progress in this country, every expansion of freedom, every expression of our deepest ideals have been won through the efforts that made the status quo comfortable and we should all be thankful for folks who are willing, in a peaceful, disciplined way, to be out there making a difference,” he said.

Obma noted that voting is an equally important part of the process of change as protesting, stating that it was not an “either, or” situation but a “both, and.”

The discussion was part of an online town hall series hosted by the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, launched by Obama in 2014 focused on building “safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color.”

Other panelists on the town hall included former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, Campaign Zero co-founder Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Minneapolis City Council Representative Phillipe Cunningham and youth leader Playon Patrick.

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