Attorney general: Use debate on force to aid relations

AP News
Posted: Feb 05, 2015 8:09 PM
Attorney general: Use debate on force to aid relations

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that law enforcement and other leaders should use the national debate over the use of force to improve relations with the communities they serve.

Holder called for the dialogue at a meeting with politicians, law enforcement officials and community leaders in Oakland, California, a city that has seen tumultuous demonstrations against police.

It was the sixth and final city where Holder has convened such a meeting since President Obama asked him to organize the discussions.

"Recent events have cast a stark light on rifts that have emerged throughout the country," Holder said. "And that's why I've been traveling the nation in recent months to hold roundtable discussions — like this one — aimed at bringing people of all backgrounds and perspectives together to restore trust where it has been eroded, and to build trust where it never existed."

Holder said the debate about police relations is an opportunity that shouldn't be squandered.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the group earlier, "We have got to do more to win back the trust of the community."

Some two dozen invited officials were present, including community activists, police chiefs and others. The meeting was closed to the public. Media were asked to leave after Holder's opening remarks.

Holder has held similar meetings in Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Memphis, Tennessee.