EXCLUSIVE – Major law enforcement organizations at the international, federal, state and local levels are partnering with social change group Faith & Blue for its annual weekend of activities as part of the “largest nationwide police-community initiative,” Fox News can exclusively report.
Leaders from the National Faith & Blue Weekend will announce Tuesday their plans to partner with “every major national law enforcement” group in hosting its second-annual national event from Oct. 8 through Oct. 11.
Law enforcement groups working with Faith & Blue on the event include the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Black Police Association, among several others.
“We need a movement in this country,” the weekend’s lead organizer, Rev. Markel Hutchins, told Fox News on Monday.
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“We cannot continue to have some Americans standing in one corner yelling, ‘Our lives matter,’ and a different group of Americans in a different corner yelling, ‘Our lives matter,’ he continued. “Because it’s just going to continue to perpetuate this chaos that has permeated our culture, our politics and every other facet of our existence as Americans.”
The idea for Faith & Blue came in April 2020, after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and its inaugural weekend kicked off in October of that year, Hutchins said.
Floyd, a Black man, died in May 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, despite his shouts that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin was later convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to more than two decades in prison.
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And Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker, was fatally shot by Louisville, Kentucky police in March 2020, during a botched drug raid at her home. Police opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend fired at and struck an officer during the raid. Investigators did not recover any narcotics.
“We have to deal with the tragic deaths of people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and so many others, who have died in tragedies involving law enforcement,” he explained. “But we also have to deal with the crime and violence that is pervasive in communities of every kind across the country. National Faith & Blue weekend has as its mission to deal with both sides of these issues at the same time.”
Hutchins said law enforcement officials in 47 states will join the federal government and even international groups for public activities in local communities. The organization wileml partner with the faith-based communities for events that include town falls, forums, vigils and picnics.
Faith-based organizations, Hutchins said, “have unique and unprecedented and unmatched influence in local communities.” And the high crime trends and recent high-profile law enforcement-involved deaths have bred “an enormous appetite for solutions,” he said.
“But the solutions to the challenges we face when it comes to crime and violence, as well as police-involved tragedies, the solutions will not come in a piece of legislation nor an executive order. They are relational reformations that are needed,” he explained. “So, while there’s a lot of focus and attention being placed on the need for police reform and – there are some needs for reforms around use of force and those kinds of things – the greatest need for reform is how law enforcement officers and community residents see each other, how they interact.”
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He called Faith & Blue “the largest and most collaborative police community outreach project in American history.”
“We have to transition from this anger into power. We have to transform our, not just our discourse, but shift our mindset from this idea that in order for the community to win, law enforcement has to lose,” he said. “We have to shift the discussion. We have to put the conversation back in a solutions orientation. And I think that’s one of the things that we’ve lost over the last several years: we have to reimagine our discourse.”