ST. LOUIS – Wednesday the St. Louis Young Democrats brought together St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson, State Representative Bruce Franks, Jr., David Dwight with Forward Through Ferguson, and Heather Taylor with the Ethical Society of Police at the Dr. Henry Given, Jr. Administration Building at Harris-Stowe University in mid-town St. Louis. The purpose of the meeting was for a discussion on public policy issues facing the community on policing and race.
The meeting comes after several weeks of protect over the “not guilty” verdict in the Jason Stockley trial, were the former St. Louis police officer was accused of killing Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.
Protests began immediately following the judge’s decision and have occurred almost daily since.
For the most part tonight’s meeting was calm and respectful, but panelist were interrupted many times by an emotional audience in the packed auditorium shouting “shut it down”.
Mayor Krewson faced tough questions from the crowd on policing and choosing a new police chief. For her part, Krewson stated that city needs to talk about a path to change and that she is committed to the Ferguson Commission Report on proposed changes to the areas policing policies, “We need to come together as a City if we are really going to tackle this. We have to talk with one another, we have to come together to adopt a community policing standards and then we have to hold police department and our citizens accountable to those community policing standards."
St. Louis city Democratic State Representative Bruce Franks said, ““The police can’t police the police at the end of the day and we have seen from the time that Michael brown was killed to the following year we are averaging police involved shootings every single month we’ve had an uptick this year since our current interim chief has been chief,” when asked about use of force by police. He also called for better police vetting stating that the search for a new chief of police for the City of St. Louis should be instead a search for a public safety director.