Building trust in Ferguson after Michael Brown's death

FERGUSON, Mo. - On CBS This Morning, Michael Brown's parents talked about Officer Darren Wilson who has said that he has a clear conscience about killing their son.

"He killed my son," she said. "He murdered him in cold blood, and broad daylight. How could your conscience be clear even if it was an accidental death?"

Pastor Robert White leads a coalition of 35 ministries; Gabe Crocker is president of the St. Louis County Police Association. When CBS News interviewed them, it was the first time the two men had ever met.

"We don't have that voice in our community right now that both sides trust," White said.

Asked if police trust kids on the street, Crocker responded, "No. And I don't know how to bring a lot of police officers to the table and get them to understand why they're having trouble policing minority communities. We couldn't put a young white officer and a young black man in the same room right now."

Asked if many of the young black men he deals with trust police officers, White said, "No, there is no trust. There is a huge gap between the civilians and not only police officers but elected officials."

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Pastor Robert White and Gabe Crocker
CBS News

What is the next step to stop this from happening again?

"I think law enforcement, in the coming years, needs to take a real good look at what they're doing in the mirror," Crocker said. "They need to look at themselves in the mirror and look at tactics, look at training."

"If we are talking about preservation of life, if we're looking for opportunities for all men -- what this country was built upon -- then all of us have to pull up our bootstraps and realize we made some mistakes," said White.

"I just don't think everything is the fault of the police, but I also don't think it's the fault of young black males who are disproportionately involved in crime," said Crocker. "It's a problem of getting these two entities to come together at the table and go, 'How in the hell do we fix this?"

Both men agreed that progress will come in baby steps, and that real progress will only come when all sides come together and have more of these conversations.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.