NAACP, po­lice union lead­ers vow to mend mi­nor­ity-of­fi­cer re­la­tions

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Tony Plo­het­ski Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn StAff

Still on op­pos­ing sides of a pro­posed $750,000 set­tle­ment with the fam­ily of a man fa­tally shot by an of­fi­cer, lead­ers of the Austin po­lice union and a civil rights group pledged on Tues­day to part­ner in mend­ing re­la­tions be­tween of­fi­cers and mi­nori­ties.

The union’s pres­i­dent, Sgt. Wayne Vin­cent, and Nel­son Lin­der, pres­i­dent of the Austin chap­ter of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Col­ored Peo­ple, said they want to jointly ap­pear at schools, neigh­bor­hood as­so­ci­a­tions and other com­mu­nity meet­ings to fos­ter di­a­logue be­tween of­fi­cers and res­i­dents.

Vin­cent said that us­ing a pool of leave time the union re­ceives from mem­bers, some of­fi­cers also would at­tend the meet­ings, hop­ing that both they and res­i­dents could dis­cuss any bar­ri­ers be­tween them.

“We are com­pletely op­po­site on this (Nathaniel San­ders II set­tle­ment) is­sue, but that shouldn’t keep us from talk­ing,” Vin­cent said.

Vin­cent and Lin­der met Tues­day with the Amer­icanStatesman ed­i­to­rial board to dis­cuss their plans. Their first sched­uled joint ap­pear­ance is set for Aug. 22.

Lin­der said that for years, most of his con­ver­sa­tions about the Austin Po­lice Depart­ment have been with high-rank­ing of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing Po­lice Chief Art Acevedo. He said he thinks he and oth­ers in the com­mu­nity could ben­e­fit from hear­ing from the rank and file.

He said he also wants to work with po­lice to teach young peo­ple how to re­spond when they are de­tained by of­fi­cers.

“In the fi­nal anal­y­sis, I want to save lives,” he said.

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