East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome joined NBC Local33 News Today, Friday, to discuss her reaction to the death of George Floyd and her message to the community as the fallout from that death is sparking conversations across the country.
Question: Some people in the capital city may be seeing these images and having flashbacks, unfortunately, to just four years ago. We know this pain in this community all too well. Las night you posted on social media saying that ‘we can’t be indifferent to tragedies like this, but we must find our ability to bring change’. How do we do that? How do we make sure that our community is progressing forward and not going to move back to what we’ve seen in the past.
Mayor Broome: There are a lot of ways that we make sure that happens. Number one, we implement policy change and we’ve done that. Right after what took place in 2016 with the Alton Sterling killing. What we did, we implemented policies within our police departments surrounding excessive force. We had conversations and continue to have conversations to close the gap with the citizens in our community. Chief Paul has an advisory committee. So we have worked very intentionally as a community, as a city, to make sure that we close the gap that exists between law enforcement and our citizens.
Mayor Broome: In addition, Chief Paul has added extra training for our officers as well. But in addition to that we have to have conversations across racial lines so that people understand how folks are feeling. For example, during this tragedy of George Floyd, there are some people that don’t understand the pain that many African Americans are feeling at this time. And to understand that it takes communication, it takes building relationships and understand. However, I would say that regardless of the color of your skin, our moral compass has to respond when we see tragedies like that happen, regardless of the color of your skin. That should in and of itself bring a level of concern, it should bring a level of grief, and bring a level of a desire to change things in our world.