With continued protests in California cities sparked by the high profile deaths of black people at the hands of white police officers and a search for solutions to the raw situation, I want to transcribe comments from Connie Rice, well-known Los Angeles civil rights attorney who went from suing the Los Angeles Police Department to seeking solutions by working with the police to change the culture within the department. Rice appeared in a town hall forum taped in Missouri and moderated by Gwen Ifill on PBS after the Ferguson protests began.

“This is going to be repeated again and again, Gwen. We’re not going to get beyond this for, I would say, another hundred years or so because it’s a process. It’s learning to dance with one another, post slavery.

We’re still stuck on stupid in many regards. And I’m not being derogatory to anybody. What I mean by that is, collectively, we can’t quite face what we have in front of us, number one. Number two, we’re not willing to learn from the folks who have danced these dances and come out on the other side okay.

So, number one, we know how to get out of these situations now to avoid them because I have spent fifteen years of my life waking up everyday thinking of a new way to sue LAPD and the LA Sheriff, and I love doing it. But Gwen, Chief Bratton told me, ‘Lady, put your complaint away and don’t march into court again, march in to Parker Center, the headquarters of the police department, and help me change my cops.’

Every day for twelve years I have been inside that police department helping first Chief Bratton and now Chief Beck show his cops what it means to be trusted, not by people who look like me, but by people who look like folks who live in Jordan Downs Housing Project, Nickerson, Imperial and Ramona Gardens.

We’re talking about a revolution in American policing.

Now, the community is also going to have to open up a little bit. You hear really hard, earned, animosity. These are folks who have been shot at unfairly by the police, they’ve been pulled over all the time, thrown out, harassed. You hear it. You hear it in young men’s voices. They’re right.

We also must get it right. We have to show them its worth engaging with the cops. Not all cops, there are some troglodytes I can’t deal with, either. But, there is a really clear path for this and do you want to know what it starts with? It starts with the cops who have decided to change how they think.

I am stunned by the 180-degree turn. Cops I used to – if they weren’t in my lawsuit, Gwen, I’d change the lawsuit to make sure they were in it. It was war. They were shock and awe, shoot first ask questions later cops. Mean as vipers, okay, and a few of them racists. Not all of them, a few of them racists. We used to hate each other. Now we have each other on speed dial and we are all about providing safety through service. It can be done.”

Connie Rice’s book on her time working with the Los Angeles police, gang members and other issues is Power Concedes Nothing.