As protesters and police clashed around the country Wednesday, one North Texas community came together to have a conversation about that strained relationship between police and those they pledge to protect.
Grand Prairie police and players from the Dallas Heat basketball team, along with their coach, gathered first in cleaning trash from a neighborhood before joining in a roundtable discussion at Dalworth Recreation Center.
“I reached out to the city to kind of get a grasp on the things that have been happening in America as far as social injustices and just bridging the gap between the community and also the police department,” said the Heat’s owner and coach Mason Brawley.
Chief Daniel Scesney told the group nothing was off-limits, asking the athletes, as representatives of the community, to ask tough questions.
They included whether qualified immunity is necessary, how the department decides when to use force and what they're doing to make themselves more approachable.
“I think that if our citizens get to know us as individuals and how we think and the way that we believe here in Grand Prairie, I think a lot of the trouble we see in other parts of the country, it’ll go away,” said Chief Daniel Scesney.”
As Reverend Stanley Smith of Faith Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church moderated the discussion, he said he hoped it would serve as an inspiration for others to have tough conversations.
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“I think the world needs to do that. I think every city needs to do this, sit down and look at the way we look at and view things,” said Reverend Smith.