Tennessee black legislative leaders plead with colleagues for racial understanding

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Several black state lawmakers pleaded this week for support in addressing the fallout from George Floyd’s death while in custody of Minneapolis police.

“I think we got to figure a way to tell the good cops from the bad cops,” said African American state Senator Brenda Gilmore on Thursday.

She would like to see state lawmakers help fund body cameras for law enforcement statewide. The senator also suggests more training for officers in dealing with race relations.

She has hope for change, but fear also as the country once again confronts racism and law enforcement.

“I think the young people are really tired,” added Senator Gilmore, “If we don’t make some changes, and make substantive changes that really makes a positive difference, I think we are all going to regret it.”

Earlier in the week, several House Black Caucus members spoke similar words about change for police practices.

“But the problem is, public policy often places a low value on black bodies,” said Democrat Nashville lawmaker Rep. Harold Love on the House floor late Monday.

“When we see some of the frustration going out in the world around us, let’s take a moment and try to understand that frustration,” said Memphis Democrat Rep. Jesse Chism.

“When we make laws, when we pass legislation, is it good for all Tennesseans?” asked Nashville Democrat Vincent Dixie.

As a group, the House Black Caucus has long expressed that removing the bust of Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee Capitol would ease racial tensions.

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