On Apr. 14, The National Association of Black Journalists Illinois chapter held their spring semester event: Breaking Brutality. The event addressed the controversial topic of police brutality, which has gained national attention due to incidents like Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Martese Johnson, Eric Garner and most recently Walter Scott.

Police brutality has been a topic in the news for months now, and continues to be due to the constant occurrence of incidents. The rapid cycle of police brutality is something that should continue to be addressed in the media and NABJ wanted this event to contribute to the conversation by informing the public.

NABJ’s Breaking Brutality aimed to provide students, faculty, and local residents with an educational experience pertaining to police brutality in an effort to help improve citizens’ interaction with the police. The event featured a panel consisting of lawyer Chasity Burns, historian Dr. Sundiata Cha-Jua, Officer Dr. Michael Scholesser, and councilman/activist Aaron Ammons. The panelist called for systemic change that would result in better community policing and harsher punishment for offending officers. They also pointed out the need for grassroots movements to educate citizens about their rights and get them more involved in the lawmaking process particular those concerning policing.

The event also featured a demonstration conducted by Detective James Carter that showed citizens the proper body language to display when interacting with the police such as keeping your hands visible at all times. Breaking Brutality received coverage by local news outlets WCIAFOX, and made the front page of the Daily Illini.