Waco: Protesters working closely with law enforcement
For two weeks now, protest against police brutality and racial inequality have been happening all across Central Texas. And they’ve all been peaceful. Thanks, in-part, organizers say to working together with local law enforcement.
“I think we have the common goal of wanting to keep everyone safe, but then also recognizing that there has been a long history of racial injustice and even the suppression of voices and that people want to be heard, the deserve to be heard and they need to be heard,” said Hope Balfa-Mustakim with Change Waco.
Balfa-Mustakim has been in constant contact with Waco police. She even did a local radio show with Chief Ryan Holt to dispel rumors about the protests. She says that partnership is a give and take, and, so far, it’s worked.
“We said if it’s going to happen we are going to work as hard as we can to make sure it’s productive and peaceful,” said Balfa-Mustakim. “But peaceful in the way that doesn’t just mean the absence of violence but that’s creating more equity and justice in our community because that’s the true definition of peace.
And law enforcement agrees. Over the weekend, at a prayer event in Belton... Chief Gene Ellis told a crowd it’s about working together
“Being transparent and most importantly, we’ve got to listen,” said Ellis, speaking about the Belton Police Force. “We’ve got to listen way before this and we’ve got to listen way after this.”
Organizer Jonathan Hildner with “Lets Move -Killeen” agrees. He says being open and transparent with their messaging has gone a long way to fostering a peaceful relationship.
“This is our intent,” said Hildner. “You know our intent is not to fight you. Our intent is not to disrespect you, but it should be both ways. That’s how you have a working relationship and we have let them know that we will hold them accountable in the future.”