Police officers in Wichita, Kansas partnered with the local Black Lives Matter group to have a cookout for the community, instead of the protest that was in the works.
The aptly named First Steps Community Cookout was the product of a meeting with Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and A.J. Bohannon and other community activists and Black Lives Matter movement members.
The goal was to have the cookout serve as a first step in bridging the community with police for open communication and trust, in light of the nationwide tensions between police and black citizens.
Capt. Rusty Leeds told the Kansas City Star that community policing was a bigger part of the department in the '90s, but is re-emerging in its importance.
“Then it was the gang violence, and now it’s the conduct of police,” he said.
Bohannon told radio station KMUW that the cookout was especially important because of the recent ambushes on police officers.
"We can get on the same page and say those things that are in Baton Rouge don't trickle over into Wichita, Kan.," Bohannan told KMUW. "My heart goes out to the families, those officers in Baton Rouge, but I think the fact that that did happen makes this event more meaningful. I definitely think this is a start for this community, and I definitely want to keep it going."
Several uniformed officers spent the day talking with residents, playing basketball and even dancing.
Last night’s Republican National Convention featured a lot of notable appearances throughout the evening (including speeches from Rudy Giuliani and Melania Trump), but one of the most talked-about moments came in the closing moments. Mark Burns, a televangelist and pastor of South Carolina’s Harvest Praise & Worship Center, was invited to the stage to deliver the benediction prayer. But, instead of the typical non-partisan prayers delivered at conventions, Burns ignited controversy by explicitly calling Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “our enemy.” He said, “Republicans, we got to be united, because our enemy is not other Republicans—but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.”
Father God, in the name of Jesus, Lord we’re so thankful for the life of Donald Trump. We’re thankful that you are guiding him, that you are giving him the words to unite this party, this country, that we together can defeat the liberal Democratic Party, to keep us divided and not united. Because we are the United States of America, and we are the conservative party under God.
Burns said Trump is a person “who believes in the name of Jesus Christ” and asked that God would give him “the power and authority to be the next president.” (You can read the full benediction here or watch it below.)
A minister invoking such blatantly partisan language is typically unheard of in conventions settings, so much so that in some years, ministers (including Billy Graham) have prayed at both the DNC and RNC.
Even the evening’s opening prayer from televangelist Paula White wasn’t as explicitly partisan. Though, she opened with Isaiah 59 that says “truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked” and said, “we too, have often turned our back on truth,” and that we “choose a different path,” the prayer refrained from directly endorsing parties or candidates. She prayed for peace, justice, hope and righteousness, and didn’t call out opposing political rivals. Discuss
Three police officers were killed and three others were injured on Sunday when a gunman opened fire on them while they were on duty in Baton Rouge.
The shooting comes days after two African-American men were killed—one in Minnesota and one in Baton Rouge—during encounters with police, and then, days later, five police officers were killed in an ambush in Dallas.
Police have confirmed that the Baton Rouge shooter was killed in a shootout with police.
President Obama issued a statement following the deaths of Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald and Brad Garafola on Sunday, saying (in part),
These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now–all of us–to be at our best.
Today, on the Lord’s day, all of us stand united in prayer with the people of Baton Rouge, with the police officers who’ve been wounded, and with the grieving families of the fallen. May God bless them all.
Just days before the shooting, Jackson, a 32-year-old husband and father, wrote on Facebook,
In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat … I’ve experienced so much in my short life and the past 3 days have tested me to the core …. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer I got you.
Your faith drastically shapes what you think about police brutality, according to a new study.
The Barna group released the findings of a nationwide survey of Americans yesterday, specifically the answers to two questions about use of force by police officers. The study found that the biggest divides came among age, religious and ethnic groups.
Those surveyed were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: "The police unfairly target people of color and other minority groups." Fifty-three percent somewhat or strongly agreed, while 40 percent somewhat or strongly disagreed and 7 percent said they weren't sure.
They were also asked if personally they live in fear of police brutality. Seventy-eight percent said they probably or definitely did not fear police brutality, with 7 percent saying they absolutely live in fear of police brutality and 15 percent saying they possibly do.
Based on age and ethnicity
Of the 53 percent who strongly agreed, millennials made up 32 percent of that compared to 10 percent of older Americans, categorized as "elders." Black Americans agreed with the statement at 53 percent, which is almost four times more than white Americans at 14 percent. Among Hispanics, 34 percent strongly agree.
White Americans who say they absolutely live in fear of police brutality are 4 percent of the reporting, compared to Black people at 16 percent and Hispanics at 14 percent. The most stark difference comes in when considering that 13 percent of white Americans say they have any fear of police brutality, compared to 56 percent of black Americans, 29 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of Asian-Americans.
In general, 30 percent or more of millennials, liberals, Democrats and parents with children in the house all reported having some level of fear of police brutality.
Based on religious identity
The research found that of the people who believe people of color are unfairly targeted, evangelicals make up 29 percent—the smallest of any other faith group. Non-evangelical born again Christians are 49 percent of the group, atheists and agnostics 67 percent and people of other faiths represent 59 percent.
Practicing Christians are on par with non-believers at 48 percent to 54 percent.
The biggest divide is between white and non-white born again Christians. 24 percent believe police unfairly target minorities, while 82 percent of non-white people believe that. Similarly, only 5 percent of white born again Christians would agree to living in fear of police brutality compared to 34 percent of non-white born again Christians.
What this means
These questions were part of a larger study Barna conducted in April, but they reveal a lot about the state of the United States and race relations.
David Kinnaman, president of Barna and director of the study, said in a statement:
These findings represent a challenging reality for evangelicals and their leaders. Huge gaps exist between most evangelicals and tens of millions of Americans—gaps in perception about the extent and proximity of prejudicial law enforcement. The different levels of opinion help to explain why people feel such varying states of urgency about the issue. To help evangelicals grapple with the problems of implicit racial bias, Christian leaders must come to realize how deeply and personally experienced these problems are for so many in society and in the church.