A Conversation on Community Policing: WCPO talks to residents and police about community policing

Chaos filled Cincinnati streets more than 16 years ago after a Cincinnati Police officer shot and killed Timothy Thomas, an unarmed black man.

Tensions were high as the strained relationship between local police and citizens was thrown into the national spotlight.

Nearly two decades later, as stories similar to Thomas’ have played out across the country, interactions between police and black men and women are now being captured on camera -- sparking controversy and debate about racism, policing and other topics.

Some have reacted to these deaths by participating in demonstrations that have, at times, turned violent. Others are critical of such marches, saying they promote violence toward police officers.

WCPO started this project, A Conversation on Community Policing, soon after the fatal shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in July 2016.

After those deaths a total of 15 law enforcement officers were shot -- eight were killed -- at protests.

Closer to home, last fall, University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing’s murder trial ended in a hung jury. Tensing shot and killed Cincinnati man Sam DuBose in Mt. Auburn in the summer of 2015. Starting May 25, Tensing will be retried on murder charges in Hamilton County. 

After the first Tensing trial, WCPO talked to local residents from different backgrounds to get their take on the sometimes complicated relationship between police and the community.

WCPO journalists asked six people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods a series of questions about how they view the relationship between police and the community. We hoped their personal experiences and opinions could give our viewers a different perspective than they might have themselves.

We hope our project, A Conversation on Community Policing, can help the community see how their views align with their neighbors and maybe help them understand an experience different from their own.

Watch each chapter in the video player above. After you’re done, we want to hear your thoughts.