Community shares stories of encounters with police - WSMV Channel 4

Community shares stories of encounters with police

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Several community members shared their experiences during the event Tuesday. (WSMV) Several community members shared their experiences during the event Tuesday. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The third and final public hearing in "The Truth and Reconciliation Project on Policing" was held on Tuesday in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

During the event, a handful of Nashville residents told their stories.

One shared what he describes as "terrifying" when a got a new car in 2014 and police pulled him over.

Another was a former sheriff's deputy and corrections officer. He spoke about how his training conditioned him to assume the worst and to be fearful of the very people he was supposed to serve and protect.

"In a moment of fear, you're survival of the fittest. Your nature kicks in. You don't value the person as a person, you see them as an opponent, as someone you're against," said Devan Franklin.

Another speaker shared how much fear he has to sort through every day.

"I'm afraid every day that I'm going to wake up dead. I'm going to be accused, fit the description, or be at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Michael Harris.

Gideon's Army says it plans to collect these stories to publish at a later time.

Last year, the organization released a report showing black drivers are five times more likely to be pulled over multiple times a year than white drivers.

Forum organizers say sharing and being heard are key steps toward healing the community.

"We can't move forward into anything like reconciliation or justice if we don't take the time first to hear people's stories and take them seriously and acknowledge the harm and the trauma that people have experienced at the hands of police officers," said Andrew Krinks with Gideon's Army.

Gideon's Army says it is part of a newly created Community Oversight Board, which is a community coalition committed to creating more accountability for police. They say their ultimate goal is to help build communities where people feel safe without relying solely on police.

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