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Neighborhood leader hopes KCPD, community relations can mend

Pat Clarke says change begins with conversation
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Posted at 9:35 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 23:32:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cell phone video showing the final moments of Malcolm Johnson's life at the hands of Kansas City, Missouri, police officers was released to community leaders before law enforcement.

Religious leaders in Kansas City said during a press conference on Thursday that was an example of the strained police-community relationship in the city.

Pat Clarke, director of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association, told 41 Action News he sees the challenge first hand.

"A lot of my kids come from those houses that say don’t trust the police," Clarke said.

Clarke works with many Kansas City urban youth, providing a place to let their energy out like on a basketball court. But he said he believes not all police officers are the opponents.

"Sometimes it’s easy, you can just point out a bad cop you know because of the way that they act," Clarke said. "You can also tell by, you wave at a cop that’s riding by [and] the good ones wave back."

To start stitching police-community relations, Clarke said it begins with actions and words.

"Until we get the conversations that we need to have, each and every one of these kids is still going to fear for their lives," Clarke said.

Kids like Daysha Brooks, who lives in Kansas City.

"There’s some police officers that will help us and there’s some that will disrespect us no matter what we have done," Brooks said. "With our skin color, it’s hard for us. So if one Black person does one thing, all Black people get accused of doing the same thing."

But Brooks said she is optimistic that will change, in due time.

"It takes a few people to start a change and we can all follow in that change," she said.