An October 13 Town Hall hosted by two Farmington area groups will focus on community policing and ensuring residents know their legal rights.
The Beloved Community initiative and Community Equity Organization will host “Let’s Talk Policing Issues,” an event held online from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dr. Sekeita Lewis-Johnson, who will lead the session, said along with learning more about local policing issues, attendees can share their thoughts and ideas.
“One thing that I really, truly believe in is centering community and centering those most impacted by whatever is happening,” she said. “So this town hall will also garner people’s responses to the data and find out what is it that folks in our community want to see as a result of truth and reconciliation.”
According to a new Farmington Hills Police Department dashboard, more than 60 percent of people arrested in 2019 were Black, while the city’s Black population falls just under 20 percent.
“We are really looking to tackle, why is that and what can we do about it,” Lewis-Johnson said. “Because when I look at the Farmington Hills Police Department… their mission statement addresses delivering standards of care without prejudice and partiality, and so then it just begs the question, why is the data so disparate? What’s happening? And how can we fix that?”
Learn about citizens’ rights
A police officer will also speak during the Town Hall about citizens’ rights, police standards and ethics, and what steps to take when filing a complaint over a police incident. Lewis-Johnson said often, people don’t know where or how to file.
“I hope folks will leave with a sense of knowing, okay, I had this incident happen. What steps should I take? It has a lot to do with educating our communities on their rights as citizens,” she said.
Community policing is personal for Lewis-Johnson. As the African-American mother of teenaged boys, she said she had a hard time letting them play outside by themselves during the height of last year’s polarization around race and policing.
“I would have to go outside with them, and it just really brought up a lot that’s going on with policing, particularly in the United States,” she said.
Lewis-Johnson said the groups will use the Hudson Weber grant to improve transparency, equity, and more, “so that not just certain people are safe, all people are safe in the community.”
Register for the Zoom meeting: us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAlf-urrTMjHdaCT9DJHeqYfbP-hSLA5UIO