Obama: We Need Police Officers to Be Embraced by the Community

Thursday, President Barack Obama held a town hall event called “The President and The People: A National Conversation” that aired on ESPN.

Obama spoke with Philando Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, who asked the president how the nation can stop shootings at the hands of law enforcement like the one that took Castile’s life.

“I think that the place to start is for everybody to recognize that we need police officers and we need those police officers to be embraced by the community. If there are good relations between police and those communities, then those communities and police officers will be safer. It’s good for everybody,” Obama replied.

“We should have a common goal,” he continued. “In order for us to make sure that we reduce the number of incidents like we’ve seen, there are a couple of things that we know work. Number one, the more police departments know the communities and get to know those communities ahead of time, the more trust is built. Point number two is, police departments that are doing the best work are also training their officers not just on shooting, being good shots; not just on the technical aspects of police work, but they’re also training officers about how do we get rid of some of our implicit biases. And we all have them. White folks have them, my folks have them, we all carry with us some assumptions about other people. I think if we’re honest with ourselves, because of the history of our country, and because of the images we receive growing up, oftentimes there’s a presumption that black men are dangerous. That has to be worked through.”

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent