Death of Tyre Nichols: Westchester police, community leaders aim to improve relations
Westchester police, elected officials and clergy are banding together to work on the relationship between law enforcement and their communities in the wake of the violent death of Tyre Nichols.
The community came together for a vigil in Mount Vernon on Tuesday in remembrance of Nichols.
Activists and local police then gathered at a unity event at Renaissance Plaza in White Plains.
Speakers at both events emphasized the need for improving the cultures in local police departments.
Organizers say civilians must help shape police policies and hiring practices.
"It's a little less about what we're teaching them, and a little more about what we're teaching the other side. Training doesn't seem to be helping so we have to figure out what's the next step," says Lesia Suarez.
White Plains Police Department Chief Joseph Castelli says his officers are willing to be taught and accept help from their community.
"You want to be that trusted part of the community that people don't have to worry about going to or interacting with us. We don't want to be outside the community," he says.
The chief says they're still working on changes recommended by the community during their police-modernization board discussions, which were mandated by the state after the death of George Floyd in 2020.
He says it was important that the police showed the people on Tuesday that they're still ready to listen.