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Police, VUL students meet to 'bridge the gap' after video shows men handcuffed during stop


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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- The Lynchburg Police Department is working to bridge the gap after a controversial traffic stop with Virginia University of Lynchburg football players.

The police department is being accused of racial profiling after four students were stopped and detained for a broken tail light.

To work on fixing the divide in the community, police officers met with students at VUL's convocation Tuesday morning.

The conservation mostly focused on the best practices during a traffic stop and knowing your rights.

"It's happening so much around the country it's kinda like where is it going to happen next at this point," said Jeanine Walker, a sophomore at VUL.

Officers say while it's important to learn what to do when you're stopped, they're also trying to learn by calling out their mistakes.

"There's no yelling, no screaming, or anything like that," said Sgt. J.J. Rater. "It's just really sit down, talk about some race issues, talk about traffic stops, talk about what the police do."

Sgt. Rater spoke to students about their right to film officers, make complaints, and say no to searches.

"Being a part of the African-American community sometimes we don't feel like we can say no," Walker said. "The police don't really hear what we're saying and how we feel about certain situations that are going on. We're scared."

Officers told students they want that perception to change.

"I think I want the kids to take away that we do care," Sgt. Rater added. "And in the end, we're no different from anybody in the community. We just want to go home."

Police say they plan to go back and speak to students again after they conclude the investigation into the video.

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They also say they encourage students and community members to file complaints if they feel they've been mistreated by officers so the department can improve.

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