Pastor announces forum to build relationships between young black men and JSO

by: Brittany Jones Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville pastor is teaming up with law enforcement to start a conversation between young African-American men and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

"You either do what I say or I'm going to take you to jail," said Jason Moore.

Jason Moore is an African-American man in his twenties. He said police officers have always approached him and his peers in a confrontational manor.

He said that's also part of the reason protestors in Ferguson, Missouri are upset and fed up, after a black teenager was shot and killed by a police officer.

"It's a black teen that was killed for no reason. From my understanding he had nothing on him," said Moore.

But shootings of unarmed young black men don't just happen in Ferguson. St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church pastor and Founder of Operation Save Our Sons, John Guns said years of distrust and bad relationships between Jacksonville police and young black men have led to conflict.

"We've got to stop creating that perception that everyone that is in uniform is out to get us and every young person with dreads is this bad young person," said Guns.

Guns said the only way to combat the problem is a forum.

"It's an opportunity for us to become one community where law enforcement is not perceived as an enemy, but as an ally," said Guns.

Former law enforcement officer and candidate for sheriff, Ken Jefferson believes community policing will help mend some of those relationships

"What it does is get the officers out of the cars and in the community so that they can interact with the people before havoc is wreaked," said Jefferson.

Moore hopes this event will build a better bond between he and police.

"Their job is to serve and protect," said Moore.

Guns said JSO has committed to send officers to the church. He said the officers will likely be the officers who patrol the northside area. The event will be held at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Tuesday.