Reverend: Boston Policing 'Very Different From Ferguson'

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A man is lead away by police during a protest Monday in Ferguson, Mo. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
A man is lead away by police during a protest Monday in Ferguson, Mo. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

On Monday night, police and protesters clashed again in Ferguson, Missouri. At least two people were shot and 31 were arrested, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, president of the national anti-violence initiative RECAP -- Rebuilding Every City Around Peace — was on a conference call with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on Monday. Brown joined WBUR's Morning Edition to discuss that conversation with Holder and the situation in Missouri.

Interview Highlights:

On the conference call with Holder and Jarrett:

They very adamant and very determined to see this through and to intervene federally. And then secondly, the fact that they're down there to gather information today is really lightning-fast moves in terms of the Justice Department. I see that the attorney general is very serious about going down there to see what's going on.

On what he's hearing from ministers in Ferguson: 

What I'm finding is that in the nights, particularly [Monday] night when they were out protesting, that the police response was rather heavy-handed and harsh. There was a report that the police responded with tear gas, trying to break up a protest, because the police said that there were Molotov cocktails and rocks thrown at them.

There were ministers in that very crowd who have a very different perspective on what happened. They did not see anything thrown at the police at all. And so it was just a chaotic scene and they're very upset over the law enforcement's handling of the situation thus far.

On whether there's a difference in policing tactics in Massachusetts compared to Ferguson:

I believe that we're in a different situation in Boston when it comes to policing. You have leadership within the Boston Police Department who are committed to community policing, and they demonstrate that actively. They do what they can to get to know the residents, to understand the situations, understand family situations. And so in terms of policing it's very different from Ferguson, Missouri.

On President Obama's response to the situation:

I think he responded appropriately as the president.

On what he would say to people in Ferguson:

I would say to the law enforcement people that they need to not only practice restraint but to really look into community-policing training. I would say to the residents of Ferguson, please continue to express yourself in terms of the issues that are concerning you because they're being heard across the nation.

This segment aired on August 19, 2014.

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Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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