South LA pastor hosts forum to foster candid conversations between community, LAPD officers

A South Los Angeles pastor took it upon himself to host a forum to foster honest conversations between LAPD officers and young adults in the African American community.

Pastor Shep Crawford, of the Experience Christian Ministries, held the event to improve relations between the two groups in the wake of the death of George Floyd and calls for law enforcement reforms.

"Someone said if you can change one person, you can change the world," Crawford said as he addressed the crowd Wednesday.

"We believe protesting is a great way and we believe a lot of the fight that's going on right now for injustice is definitely working, but at the same time we want to make sure we can get to the table and have the conversations we need to have," he told Eyewitness News.

The discussions included police accountability and what happens when a citizen files a complaint. Both sides were given the chance to share their feelings of fear, disappointments and frustrations.

"Dialogues have been done in the past where it's a group session but pastor Shep and I believe if you're talking one on one with someone, you're gonna say what's really on your mind," said LAPD Sgt. Ronald Kingi.

The conversations last about an hour and organizers say they hope that officers and residents take away something that will be long-lasting.

"I'm hoping that after this, that all across this country, these talks will begin. Will it change everything? I don't know, but I do know, I do believe it will make some change and we'll be able to leave here with a different perspective," the pastor said.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.