VCU students partner with police on 'Know Your Rights' forum

VCU students partner with police on 'Know Your Rights' forum

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Recent protests following recent police-involved shootings have some local college students joining forces to discuss solutions.

Some VCU students are calling on the public to participate as they work with police for an open discussion this weekend.

It's an event that was in the works for quite some time due to all of the recent cases. Then came another incident, this time in Charlotte that ignited local students' desires to take action all the more.

Lives lost in police custody have prompted the recent Black Lives Matter movement. Some VCU students want to see more people of all races participating in the discussion.

"America continues to turn a blind eye to how it's treating its own," said Benjamin Magnani-Melton.

His interest developed when he observed strangers' reactions around some of his black friends.

"I've seen police look at them differently. I've seen other people in society look at them differently but they don't give me the same treatment," he said.

"Every time you turn on the TV, you see someone that looks like you being murdered and so it affects you," Christian White added.

The death of Keith Scott at the hands of a Charlotte officer this week is bringing the conversation to the forefront.

"That could be me. That could be my father. That could be my mother," White said.

Now they're hosting a public event with law enforcement Sunday evening called "Know Your Rights."

"Everyone isn't bad. There are good police officers and there are bad police officers and we're trying to clear up those misconceptions…We're trying to be proactive rather than reactive so instead of waiting until something like this affects our community, we want to prevent something like that from affecting our communities,"  said Jaz-Munn Johnson.

"People honestly don't really look into things or want to make a change until it affects them directly. But they have to understand it does affect them directly. You are a member of the human race," Magnani-Melton said.

Although organized by VCU students, the event is open to the entire community. The public forum will take place Sunday in the Monroe Commons Building on Floyd Avenue. It begins at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 PM.

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