ACLU Indiana hosts panel discussion on policing, racial justice

Investigators work at the scene of a police involved shooting with St. Anthony Police officers on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minn. Police in Minnesota say a man has been taken to a hospital in unknown condition after being shot by an officer while inside a car with a woman and a child. St. Anthony Police interim police chief Jon Mangseth told reporters at a news conference that the incident began when an officer from his agency initiated a traffic stop around 9 p.m. Wednesday in Falcon Heights, a St. Paul suburb. (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS, In (WISH) – The ACLU of Indiana hosted a panel discussion centered around policing and racial justice Thursday. The discussion was planned for weeks, but took place just days after two deadly shootings of black men by police officers.

“Clearly our criminal justice system is failing whole parts of our community,” ACLU Executive Director Jane Henegar said. “These are tragedies for everyone involved and it’s heartbreaking.”

The most recent shooting took place just outside of Minneapolis in Falcon Heights. Moments following the shooting were live streamed by the passenger in the car, Lavish Reynolds.

“He was letting the officers know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds says on the video.

According her Facebook page, Reynolds lives in Indianapolis but was with her boyfriend, 32-year-old Philando Castile, at the time of the shooting in Minnesota. The video shows the officer’s gun drawn with Castile bloody and by her side.

In Baton Rouge, the community is mourning the death of Alton Sterling.

Early Tuesday morning, officers responded to a 911 report of a man with a gun. Video from the killing appears to show an officer pinning Sterling to the ground with a second officer assisting.

A struggle ensues and shots are fired. In a second video that surfaced on Wednesday, it appears an officer removed something from Sterling’s pocket after he was shot.

“We want justice. That’s all we actually want is justice” Anjelica Sterling said.

They are two incidents in two states, both horrific moments caught on camera.

“We need to learn from these instances. We need to figure out how to stop this systemic problem that again is decades and decades long,” Henegar said.

Officers in the Falcon Heights Police Department do not wear body cameras. The officer involved is on administrative leave.

The Department of Justice is investigating the Baton Rouge incident.

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