In this segment of Finding Common Ground, hosts Dana Davenport and Rebecca Malotke-Meslin welcome Regina Brent, the Founder and President of Unity Partnership, and Naperville Police Department Chief Bob Marshall, discussing recent protests, rallies, and riots following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The mission of Unity Partnership is to have a positive impact on the relationship between police and civilians by creating opportunities for interactions that foster mutual understanding, erase negative stereotypes, and develop new pathways for dialogue in the community. Unity Partnership hosted the first rally in Naperville, calling for action in response to what happened to Floyd.
“I saw the national news,” says Brent, “All the protests had begun. I thought, people are going to look at us. You’re Unity Partnership; you say you’re here to make the community better. You say you’re here to build relationships and partnerships, well, where are you and where are the police?”
Brent called Chief Marshall soon after the events that unfolded in Minneapolis, asking the Naperville Police Department to represent at the rally.
“I knew something was going to happen as soon as I saw the video from Minneapolis about the murder of George Floyd, and I was appalled by the actions of that police officer, “says Chief Marshall. “Immediately I thought this officer has disgraced himself, but every member of law enforcement. So this badge here, he tarnished this badge.”
The group also discussed how peaceful rallies and recent protests in Naperville and some surrounding communities had devolved into aggression. Chief Marshall stressed the importance of collaboration in order to protect protesters’ rights to free speech and ensure their safety as they marched.
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