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Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté: 'We've Done A Lot Of Things Wrong'

Lisa Rodriguez
KCUR 89.3
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte prayed with area pastors at a prayer vigil Sunday evening at the East Patrol station.

People in Kansas City are still reeling after a week of violence across the country, and many sought different outlets over the weekend to express their grief and frustration.

Sunday evening, hundreds gathered at the East Patrol Station at 26th and Prospect for a prayer vigil organized by area pastors.

Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Chief Darryl Forté spoke to a crowd of hundreds at the East Patrol station. He said that changes need to be made in his own police department.

In a crowded gymnasium, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said that there are changes that need to be made within his own department.

"We've done a lot of things wrong," he said.

Forté said officers need to be able to recognize inaccurate threats, such as someone reaching for a wallet or a phone — things that can set off unreasonable fear from officers.

"So we have to train better, we’re not bad people. We make bad, life-ending decisions, but we have to train better," Forté said.

He also touted the implementation of the department's tactical disengagement program, which teaches officers to create a protective distance up to 30 feet from a threatening suspect, communicate with that suspect and think about the proper way to proceed.

After Forté spoke, he joined the audience to pray for the victims of last week's violence, and for the officers in the Kansas City Police Department. 

Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Hundreds of young people also gathered at the Mary L. Kelly community center to discuss last week's events, and talk about how to create change.

A few miles away at the Mary L. Kelly Community Center, activist group One Struggle KC hosted a community forum for people to express their feelings about race and violence, and have a dialogue about how to move forward and create change. 

David Freeman says as a young black man, he fears what happened to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile could happen to him.

“It makes me angry what has happened and I want to channel that anger into something positive.”

He says he was looking to find some inspiration at the forum.

Barry Jackson has two sons in their thirties, and two young grandsons. He says he fears for their lives at the hands of police officers.

"You can resist and run at the risk of getting yourself killed by a police officer, or you can comply and run the risk of getting killed by a police officer," Jackson said. 

He says he was there to support his community in a time of need.

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and producer at KCUR. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig.

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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