GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — City and religious leaders in Grand Rapids joined members of the community Tuesday for what was titled "9 minutes of listening" to honor the life of George Floyd.
At nine minutes after 12, on the ninth day of June, for nearly nine minutes, everyone in attendance at Rosa Parks Circle took a knee.
Chief Eric Payne of the Grand Rapids Police Department was one of the speakers saying, "The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis should be a wake-up call to all of us to look within our own organizations to make sure that we don't have those practices that lead to these types of outcomes. We need to hold each other accountable." Chief Payne added, "This is not acceptable. My commitment to my department, to the city and the State of Michigan is make sure we're doing things correctly. We're taking a deep dive in a lot of our policies and procedure and making sure there is equity built into every policy and procedure, so we're not enforcing things that will marginalize citizens and people of color."
The chief's remarks come one day before he is scheduled to sit down with Alyssa Bates, organizer of last Wednesday's rally in downtown Grand Rapids in which Chief Payne participated and took a knee with the protesters.
"The entire system is very flawed but the starting point is with our local police department," said Bates, member of newly formed group "Justice for Black Lives". Bates told Fox 17 she will bring with her a list of policies that her group hopes to see G.R.P.D. implement, which includes banning choke holds, strangle holds, requiring de-escalation, and requiring a Police warning before shooting.
"Exhaust all options before shooting, that decreases police killings by 25%", Bates told Fox 17.
Later on Wednesday there is a digital town hall on policing starting at 5pm which will be streamed live and focus on community and policing relationships. The public is able comment and ask questions by calling 3-1-1.