In a virtual discussion sponsored by the recently-created Conversations on Racial Reconciliation and Unity special interest group in April, Dunning spoke on the magnitude and historic roots of racial disparities confronting America’s communities and the inherent challenges in addressing systemic problems.
The discussion coincided with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction in Floyd’s death and the police-related killing of a Black man in North Carolina.
Chief Thompson and the rest of the panelists agreed that conversations like Thursday night's are a first step — and they want more community involvement in the future. Thompson said it's important for officers to get to know the people they serve and interact with them beyond active enforcement of the law. Though she said there's hope for change, Fant said she still believes there is a long way to go in officers' having empathy and respect for all races — and she said minorities are still treated differently by police.