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SBPD sergeant helping to build trust in community

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A South Bend father is thanking a city police officer after helping his son understand what some African American parents call an uncomfortable topic for their children: fearing the police.

Sergeant Sam Diggins Jr. visited Mick Cooper, 5, after his father Michail wrote the post seen below on Facebook.

“With the stop I pretty much feel that I may have encountered some of the same emotions that Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Stephon Clark may have encountered when they encountered police officers,” said Michail Cooper.

Cooper said, during the traffic stop, he felt anxious and fearful for himself and his son. These are the same emotions many black communities experiences when the police are present, according to him.

“We want them to know that, if they’re in trouble, they need to look for us, not shy away from us or be afraid of us,” said Sgt. Diggins.

He said when he saw Cooper’s post he felt that he could do something about it to change Mick’s mindset about police. Sgt. Diggins pulled up to Cooper’s house on Saturday with toys for Mick and a message he hopes he never forgets.

“He’s an anomaly,” Cooper said. “What Officer Diggins did should be a model for what policing is, especially in inner cities.”

Sgt. Diggins said community youth can join the Police Department’s boxing league, click here for more information. Also, he said there will be more police patrols – foot and bike – in the community at the start of the summer.

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