GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.– Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, earlier this month. His shooting sparked national outrage after a video of the incident, shot by a witness, was released.
“It’s really disheartening to see what happened with George Floyd and the reaction, and to see that it’s still happening on a daily basis. It’s really disheartening,” says Antonio Clark, a co-founder of a local nonprofit, Right and Wrong, or RAW for short. Clark says it’s the result of unchecked racism and use of excessive force by police.
“This is a real problem, this is a plague on this country,” says Clark.
Police departments across the country have training programs to help officers navigate difficult situations.
“So as we work through those levels of de-escalation training and different types of training, crisis intervention training, that helps us really get to the heart of the problem more quickly,” says Chief of Police Doug Shoemaker of the Grand Junction Police Department.
“We have 2 crisis intervention classes that are 40 hours long, back to back, and we’re doing them again this late fall, early winter,” says Shoemaker.
But Clark says it’s not just a police problem, but a problem with systemic racism in the country.
“You know, youth are ripe for change, and if we can get these kids who are going to be adults in the next decade or so to change their ideology and ways of thinking, maybe we can change something in this country,” says Clark.
“What I’m disappointed in is that so many police departments, like the one I used to work for… And this department and several different agencies are doing so well and so appreciated by their community, and those stories go untold,” says Shoemaker.