KOLO 8 Community Town Hall: The Issue of Race

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 11:47 PM PDT
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Racism is an issue our country has faced for hundreds of years. KOLO 8 News Now hosted a discussion Friday on unjust actions between police officers and unarmed black people.

The discussion in the Washoe County Board of Commissioners chambers included law enforcement and lawmakers.

"Given what is going on nationally, given the events of Minneapolis plus some of the other recent events to make sure those things don't happen here," said Eric Brown, Washoe County manager.

Brown talked about what he wants to be eliminated. He said nationwide black people are arrested and convicted at higher rates than white people.

"It's important that they conduct themselves in a manner that does not escalate the situation and that they at least know about that so that they don't unknowingly get in a situation that can cost them their life,” said Brown.

This led to the discussion for more accountability within law enforcement. Darin Balaam, Washoe County sheriff, said he is working to provide more transparency between his office and residents. He added his office will address racial profiling when it occurs.

"When we have a bad actor within our ranks it takes just one action, that one George Floyd incident, to destroy everything the majority of us have built upon in our own communities. It is torn down," Balaam said.

In response to the community's input, Reno police have released an updated use of force policy. Starting June 5, the policy limits the restriction of a person's airway; officers are required to intervene in excessive force, and they must provide a warning before using deadly force.

"We need to look at least and make sure that the community understands how we do it and that the community is assured that we are holding ourselves accountable," said Mac Venzon, Reno police deputy chief.

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