Just days after the Justice Department issued a stinging rebuke of the Cleveland police department's excessive use of force, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Sunday that leaders must heed and address concerns among minority communities about racism in law enforcement.
"When there is a significant of our percentage of your country that believes that the system is not working for them, that [it] can be working against them, they need to be listened to and they need to be responded to," Kasich told ABC News in an interview.
The report, which was initiated in 2013 after numerous complaints from community members, found a number of instances in which Cleveland police officers used force unnecessarily or excessively, including against mentally ill individuals or in cases in which officers were called only to perform a welfare check.
As a result of the findings, the city's police department will have to submit to a "consent decree," or an agreement between the city and the Justice Department about reforms to correct the problem. The reforms will include an independent monitor to oversee progress.
Kasich, a Republican, praised Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson for doing a "great job," and he said the mayor would work closely with federal authorities "to make sure that they are able to comply with the kinds of things that the Justice Department has seen."
He also said he's agreed to "create a task force to look across the state at what we can do to be able to respond to people who are increasingly frustrated and feel shut out.
"This is not something that we just stumbled upon," he said. "I've been thinking about it, an agenda for our minority community for awhile, but this kind of rises to the top."
Tensions between minority communities and law enforcement boiled over in recent weeks in the wake of several recent killings of unarmed black males by police officers. One such incident took place Cleveland, where a police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice last month as the boy was holding a fake gun.
"What works best is when everybody feels as though they have a chance, that everybody who has grievances can be heard and that's what we're doing in the state," Kasich said Sunday. "We want everybody to at least have the sense that somebody listens to them and that there's a place for them in our society."
Appearing before Kasich on ABC's "This Week," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a similar plea about he need to improve trust between police and minority communities.
"We have a whole series of things we have to do to change the dynamics in our city," de Blasio said. "This is true all over the country. We have to retrain police forces in how to work with communities differently. We have to work on things like body cameras that would provide different level of transparency and accountability. This is something systemic."
De Blasio pledged full cooperation with the Justice Department's probe of policing in his city, announced after a grand jury declined to press charges against a police officer whose chokehold was blamed for the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner.
The mayor also emphasized the need to speak "bluntly" to the racial dynamics that underlie the recent protests.
"What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have a connection with a police officer, when they have an encounter with a police officer," de Blasio explained. "It's different for a white child. That's just the reality in this country. And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don't move suddenly, don't reach for your cell phone, because we knew, sadly, there's a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color."