Black Lives Matter Supporters, Wichita Police Plan Community Cookout

Jul 14, 2016

The Wichita Police Department and protestors who support the Black Lives Matter movement will host what they're calling a "First Steps" cookout for the community this Sunday at McAdams Park.

The idea of the barbecue came after local activist A.J. Bohannon lead a protest in northeast Wichita Tuesday seeking police reform. Bohannon says Police Chief Gordon Ramsay initiated the cookout after listening to concerns.

"I let him know that a lot of these people feel like the police are not trying to get to know them. They don't feel like the police care, so he said, 'So what can I do to change that?'" Bohannon says. "And I said there needs to be more time spent between the two."

Another Wichita activist, Djuan Wash, says groups including the Wichita Urban Professionals have proposed implementing a citizens review board, cultural competency training for officers, and independent investigations of police involved shootings, all of which Wash says Ramsay supports.

"So I'm very excited about what is happening in the city of Wichita," Wash says. "I think this could be possibly be a model for what other folks could do in their states and cities to try to alleviate the pressure."

The cookout begins at 6 p.m. Sunday at McAdams Park.

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Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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