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Madison police chief talks police reform, accountability in CNN interview

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:38 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes shared his thoughts Thursday about police reform and accountability on CNN following the verdict released Tuesday in the case of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted on all three charges of killing George Floyd.

Chief Barnes joined a group of Madison community leaders Tuesday to watch the verdict in Chavin’s trial, saying then he was hopeful that this means the community can heal and grow together. On Thursday, he explained that the verdict means things need to change.

“We need a national standard for the way we conduct business,” said Chief Barnes. “Our community expects that from us. We need to look at police reform from the standpoint of imagining or reimagining what it means to have public safety.”

Barnes said that police can do better when it comes to responding to a crisis, especially by listening to the community and understanding that they “want a different level of justice than sometimes we may think.”

The interviewer and Barnes also discussed Kyle Rittenhouse versus police shootings of people of color.

“I’m a Black man in America who happens to be a police chief,” said Chief Barnes. “And I certainly do not wear this uniform every day, and I also have a Black son.” He added ,”We need national standards on how we deal with people when noncompliant or in distress.”

The chief said Tuesday residents may notice a strong police presence around the city over the next few days as a precaution to ensure safety in the event of any protests or demonstrations.

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