Gun Violence & Teens (3)

11.15.2015–“Not another one!”, a videotaped conversation about gun violence with St. Louis teens and community leaders, was held at the Des Lee Gallery in St. Louis. The event was organized by the Institute for Public Health and St. Louis Story Stitchers. Photo by Whitney Curtis/WUSTL Photos

Excerpts from the November 14, 2015 discussion Not Another One! Police and Teens Finding Ways to Work Together to Combat Gun Violence.

Teen: This question goes out to the teens. What characteristics do the police have to have for the teens to trust them? How can the police come up to you and you not run or get scared or feel threatened?

Teen: Well I know for me I do see African American police officers but I feel like they aren’t in my area and I feel like if we do get more African American police officers in more urban areas than I feel like you know that wouldn’t solve all our problems but I think like it would be a step forward in making us feel comfortable again with police officers.

Teen: I kinda feel like that if their approach was a little bit more respectful in a way, if like everybody was all on the same page in like a respectful sense, you know what I’m saying? It would kinda be more of a loving interaction. And so we have a lot of policeman, that not all, but we do have a lot that abuse their authority and will use their badge as an excuse to not show any respect towards not just African Americans but people in general and so I feel like if they kinda changed that within themselves and they looked at everybody as equal human beings that I feel like that would decrease the tension.

Teen: There’s just like, even on the small scale of not just police officers meaning the people that protect that city, the school officers and things of that nature they even abuse that type of power with that badge even though they don’t really have that, you know they’re not a police officer and those are the ones that teens encounter on a daily basis the ones at schools, the small local mall cops. Even if they were to change their perspective on how they interact with us like on the same page like how he was saying it will help us when we encounter our city police officers to you know act better because we haven’t been harassed even on smaller levels.

Watch the Stitchers Teen Council’s music video, Not Another One!