The Delaware African American Heritage Council will be hosting a community discussion with law enforcement officials from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday on Zoom.
According to the event page on Facebook, the discussion — “Erasing the Line, Establishing the Trust” — will feature City of Delaware Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski and Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin.
The discussion will focus on “the politics of policing, specifically issues including racial profiling, use of force, escalation techniques and de-escalation training, while highlighting opportunities for better community engagement and steps to move forward in trust.”
“Erasing the Line, Establishing the Trust” comes on the heels of local protests and demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who was killed on Memorial Day when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Locally, hundreds of residents gathered May 29 at the intersection of Sandusky Street and Central Avenue for a vigil for Floyd. A few days later on June 3, a protest and march was held in downtown Delaware that included signs, chants, demonstrations, and comments from members of the community, including Pijanowski.
On May 29, Pijanowski posted an open letter to the Delaware Community saying that his department does not at all “support or justify the actions that resulted in the death of George Floyd.” He added the police department is committed to being responsible and accountable.
“Fair and professional policing within our community is the outcome we strive for,” Pijanowski wrote in the letter. “We work every day to achieve that outcome by putting significant effort into education and training, by actively connecting with our community and by developing leaders within the police department.”
After last week’s protest, local leaders of the Delaware African American Heritage Council said protests are the first steps towards justice, and members of the community should connect with people outside their ethnicity, financial contribute to anti-white supremacy causes, and contact elected officials to support criminal justice reform.
Though the event will he held digitally, the Second Ward Community Initiative building will be open to host community viewers, while maintaining social distance.
Zoom information about the discussion can be found on the “Erasing the Line, Establishing the Trust” Facebook event page.
The conversation is sponsored by the Agape International Cathedral, the Delaware African American Heritage Council, One People, Outreach Christian Center, Second Ward Community Initiative and Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.