Detroit community activist has new ideas to help end police brutality

Activist calls for increased training, mental health support, body cams

Detroit community activist has new ideas to help end police brutality
Detroit community activist has new ideas to help end police brutality

DETROIT – Amid anger over police brutality nationwide, a Detroit activist is using his energy to come up with solutions to end it.

What he’s come up with goes beyond body cameras, but it begins with just talking.

Activist Oliver Gantt typically works with Thousand Strong -- an educational deterrent organization designed to keep men and women from going down the wrong path, which can lead to prison and early graves. However, Gantt is specifically focusing on police brutality extra this year.

The activist works with police departments all throughout the Detroit area, but he says the latest police killing in Texas has him pushing even harder for police reform.

Fitness trainer Jonathan Price, 31, was shot and killed by a police officer in Wolfe City, Texas on Oct. 3, according to well-known attorney Lee Merrit. That officer has been charged with Price’s murder.

“I believe that it was proper for them to immediately bring charges on that officer for killing that young man,” Gantt said. “I believe that should be an example to any police municipality.”

Gantt wears the names of victims killed by police officers on the back of his shirt as a constant reminder of the consequences of police brutality. Now, Price’s name will join that list -- along with other high-profile names that have charged the nation’s movement against police brutality, such as Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Related: Ex-officer charged in George Floyd’s death freed on $1M bond

The activist says enough is enough and that more should be done to end this violence.

“Every week, (officers) should be in a conflict resolution class or anger management,” Gantt said. “They should be debriefed before they come out into the streets.”

He also suggests that law enforcement agents should seek mental health treatments, new officers should be paired with veteran officers and, most importantly, officer should be wearing body cameras.

The family of Jonathan Price and their attorney say that there is surveillance footage and police body cam video that likely caught what happened on tape. They’re currently requesting that video.

Detroit police officers also use body cameras while on the job. A spokesperson with the Detroit Police Department said that counseling services are available to officers, but they were not sure how often officers use those services.

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About the Author:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.