Policing in D.C. focus of town hall-style meetings

WASHINGTON — A year after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and five months after Freddie Gray was fatally injured while in Baltimore police custody, D.C. residents have the chance to speak out about their own relationships with police.

On Thursday night, the American Civil Liberties Union of D.C. will hold the second of four town hall-style meetings this month on policing.

“There’s too much racial profiling — we’re frisked more; we’re stopped more; we’re overrepresented in the criminal justice system,” says Kathy Moore, of Southeast Washington, who attended the first meeting, on Tuesday at Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast.

“We’d like to explore the variety of views that residents have on how the District should approach policing and public safety,” says Seema Sadanandan, criminal justice director for the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital.

Residents who spoke out seemed to agree that there’s room for improvement in relations between police and the black community.

“There’s not a comfort level between the police and the community. The police are not comfortable within the community and the community’s not comfortable having the police in there,” says Zack Owens, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Citizens offered a variety of ideas for boosting trust and improving relations, including stepped-up police training and requiring members of the Metropolitan Police Department to live in the District of Columbia.

Thursday night’s meeting will be held at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church, in Northwest Washington.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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