Massachusetts Community Leaders React to Wellesley Police Chief's Apology - NECN


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Massachusetts Community Leaders React to Wellesley Police Chief's Apology

Police Chief Terrence Cunningham made comments about race relations at a conference last week



    Massachusetts community leaders are speaking out following an apology from the police chief in Wellesley over his statement on race relations. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016)

    Community leaders in Massachusetts are speaking out following an apology from the police chief in Wellesley, Massachusetts, over his statement that there is a history of mistrust between people of color and law enforcement.

    Police Chief Terrence Cunningham made the comments last week at a conference of a national police organization and then apologized this week.

    "While we obviously cannot change the past, it is also clear that we must change the future," said Cunningham.

    On a national stage, Cunningham, made the big statement about race relations in police departments across the country.

    In a speech Monday before the International Association of Police Chiefs, Cunningham, who is President of the IACP, apologized for the way police departments have historically treated people of color.

    "For our part, the first step in this process is for the law enforcement profession and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color," he said.

    As Black Lives Matters movements have worked to effect change across the country, and outrage has grown over several police shootings of unarmed black men, Cunningham called on both police and the communities they serve to come together to correct this problem.

    "It is my hope that by working together we can break this historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all," Cunningham said.

    Back in the Boston area, some believe Chief Cunningham’s speech is long overdue.

    "I will accept that apology, just for him to say that, that’s real big," Carolyn Tomlinson of Hyde Park said.

    While others think there needs to be more of a focus on action rather than just saying the right thing.

    I thought it was great, I just hope more can do it and more people feel it in their hearts and take time before they shoot," Sharon Powell of Mattapan said.

    Many people we spoke to were optimistic that this is at the very least a step in the right direction.

    "I think anything that starts a positive dialogue is very important, and just like anything, once you admit there’s a problem, then you can begin to fix it," Reggie Carter of Dorchester said.

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