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Cleveland Reflects on Police-Community Relations on MLK Day

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KEVIN NIEDERMIER
/
WKSU

 A Cleveland-area black community leader says the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings could ease tensions between residents and the police. The issues of excessive use of force and the shooting death of Tamir Rice  were on the minds of those attending a prayer breakfast today at the  East View United Church of Christ in Shaker Heights.  WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.

The Rev. Mack Rice Jr. says changes in local police-community relations are not coming as fast as many people hope, but he believes real change will take time. He isn’t sure exactly how Dr. King would react to the issues in Cleveland. But Rice says King would work to unite everyone to reach a solution.

“It will take a lot of teaching to the police department in regards to race relationships, as well as the community has to understand, too, this is not a one-way street. All of us have to learn to try to live together peacefully, as well as to try to understand the laws and govern ourselves according to the laws.”

Rice says the community should also follow King’s call to vote for the people they believe will make positive change. One such effort is underway in Cuyahoga County, where activists are pushing to keep Prosecutor Tim McGinty from being reelected this year. They are angered by McGinty’s recommendation that a grand jury not indict the officers involved in the shooting death of Tamir Rice.