Group to speak on police and racial profiling at city council meeting

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COLUMBIA - Race Matters, Friends is asking the Columbia Police Department to change what the group calls racial profiling.

The group is speaking at Columbia's city council meeting Tuesday night about talks members had with the police department in July. 

One member, Lynn Maloney, said she would like police department chief Ken Burton to think about not pulling people over for broken tail lights. Lynn said other towns like Ladue have seen less racial profiling since stopping tail light stops.

"I hope he pursues this policy change so that officers will no longer stop vehicles with broken tail lights or other mechanical violations unless they demonstrate a clear safety hazard," Maloney said.

Sergeant Michael Hestir said officers follow the law and use their instinct when pulling people over. 

"When an officer observes a violation, in another words a situation where someone is out of compliance with the law, they are justified with stopping that person," Hestir said. 

He said the police want to meet everyone in the community and let them feel safe in their own home.

"We get out of our cars. We walk around. We meet people face to face, where they are and interact with them at school and home, in the park, and neighborhoods. We really have developed a strong following of citizens to support us."

Maloney said Race Matters, Friends wants to see more cultural transformations possible with the proper training.