Three weeks after Omar J. Edwards, a black police officer, was fatally shot by a white officer, community leaders addressed Police Department recruits at a multicultural training event in Harlem.
The session took place on Thursday at the Apollo Theater on the 125th Street, and the panelists included the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Herbert Daughtry of the House of the Lord Churches, and Margarita López, a member of the city’s Housing Authority board and a former city councilwoman.
“We wanted to bring you to this historic theater in the heart of Harlem,” said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “This workshop is about understanding and appreciating the diverse communities you will serve as officers on patrol.”
The police said the aim of the event was for leaders who have voiced criticisms of the police to give their thoughts and suggestions to the academy recruits before they hit the streets.
The panel itself was closed to the press, but speaking beforehand, Mr. Sharpton said that change was needed both in the police force and in communities.
“On the one hand, as represented by Omar Edwards’s shooting, we have the real problem of how we deal with people who have a profile in their minds of a criminal,” he said. “But if we’re to have an honest discussion on the other side we have to deal with the thuggerism and gangsterism within the African-American community.”