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George Floyd Protests Spark Conversation About Police Mistrust

BOSTON (CBS) --The video of George Floyd being killed by a white police officer who knelt on the father's neck for nearly nine minutes, has sparked protest and outrage worldwide. More importantly, it started a conversation about police brutality, reform, and how to restore trust in black and brown communities.

Retired Boston Police Officer Jerry Smart said, "I wasn't surprised [by the video], but I was angry."

WBZ-TV sat down with Smart and his 22-year-old son, Chris, at their Roxbury home to discuss what changes need to happen.

Chris, a Roxbury native, said it comes down to trust.

"It starts with the law enforcement expressing to us and making us genuinely feel like they're here to protect us," he said.

Chris said he has been racially profiled numerous times: "Address us correctly, by the book, the way you're trained."

His father, who was on the police force for more than 30 years, agrees and believes respect is also needed.

"I've always wanted to treat people the way I've wanted to be treated," Smart said. "I live in the neighborhood, so I look at them as my uncles and cousins and friends and neighbors."

Activist Monica Cannon-Grant, who recently rallied thousands of people for a peaceful protest at Franklin Park, to highlight the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, said it starts with acknowledgment.

"They have a blue code of silence, which means they don't speak out against other officers who are causing harm," said Cannon-Grant, who also believes transformative change needs to happen.

"I think the first step is shifting funding. We need more funding and prevention and more funding in community-based programs," she said. "That can help mitigate a lot of the harm that has been caused."

Change also needs to addressed with legislation "so they can be held accountable the same way as community members are held accountable," said Cannon-Grant.

On Monday, Congressional Democrats introduced police reform legislation that calls for more police accountability and transparency.

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