Flynn talks race, law enforcement during presidential town-all meeting
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn Thursday told President Barack Obama that although residents of disadvantaged communities of color need police officers the most, for social and historical reasons police are distrusted in those neighborhoods.
“The challenge is how do we talk about both things at the same time without acting like we’re blaming the African American community for their victimization or that we’re assuming that all police are racially biased?” Flynn said at a town-hall meeting featuring the president on ABC.
Flynn told the president that he understands the Black Lives Matters movement exists because there’s a sensibility that black lives didn’t matter.
“But for us the problem is this: all there is is the police in the community,” Flynn said.
“There’s no calvary coming.”
Flynn, pointing to the killing of five police officers in Dallas, decried the easy availability of high-powered firearms.
“How did that guy get that assault rifle and why could he walk down the street with it and then use it?” the chief asked before calling on lawmakers to address the issue.
“That requires some political courage,” Flynn said.
Obama said the Black Lives Matter movement serves to bring attention to inequities in poor and minority communities and is “not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter.”
“It just means that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability” the president said.
“We shouldn’t get too caught up in this notion that people who are asking for fair treatment are somehow automatically anti-police or are trying to only look out for black lives compared with others.”