PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch is in Pittsburgh today as part of the National Community Policing Tour.
As she addressed the crowd gathered for the Fraternal Order of Police convention, the conversation quickly turned to Ferguson, Missouri.
The vigils marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death turned violent late last night.
Some protesters began throwing rocks and bottles at police. Officers shot and critically wounded a man they say fired multiple rounds at them.
The police response to that shooting was a focus point during this morning's convention.
It was the first topic of Lynch's prepared remarks and it was not the only tough talk at the convention.
"I strongly condemn the violence that was perpetrated against the community, including the police officers in Ferguson last evening. As we have all seen in recent months and years, not only does violence obscure any message of peaceful protest, it places the community, as well as the officers who are seeking to protect it, in harm's way," Lynch said.
The delegates from across the country also heard from elected officials and had a memorial for officers killed in the line of duty.
Then, they heard from Pittsburgh Chief of Police Cameron McLay, who told them police have to be held accountable. He received a standing ovation for what he said next.
"To say that we in policing can improve is not to accept blame. We the police are not the cause of the social ills that are harming our community. We the police are not the cause of the violence that's plaguing our community. We the police are an important part of the answer to those problems," McLay said.
Later, the attorney general, after speaking with young people at the Creative and Performing Arts High School addressed the other side of the issue, pledging a federal initiative to provide bias training for police aimed at easing community concerns.
"And many law enforcement agencies have found it very effective in helping their officers sort of focus on learning people before they jump into the situation as a problem," said Lynch.
Jaylin Clark, a recent Penn Hills High School graduate, came away with this point of view:
"We need to work first on how to conduct ourselves when we're in an incident with a cop whether we're getting pulled over or something and we need to stay calm and the cops they also need to stay calm in the situation because if you approach someone with hostility that is just going to raise the bar to make the situation worse than it already is," he said.
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