COMPTON, Calif. — Construction is underway at Greater Zion Church Family in Compton. Pastor Michael Fisher is overseeing the auditorium transformation, but he also wants to see law enforcement build a better way to police.
“Kind of help them understand the community better,” Fisher said.
Two years ago, Fisher was leaving the church with a deacon who had his mom in the car, when he was pulled over by sheriff’s deputies.
“And the cop on my side had his gun already drawn,” the pastor explained.
Fisher says the cops told him that they thought the car had been stolen, but he knew there was no reason to have a gun pulled on them. It’s part of the reason he fights for more police oversight, even following the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
“We’re at the beginning of the battle, a very long battle,” Fisher said.
The pastor is the co-chair of the oversight committee for the Sheriff's Department in the area of Compton and part of a Los Angeles County committee comprised of clergy and community leaders.
“What I want to see happen is that we get into the nuts and bolts of the sheriff’s department and LAPD, and we find these policies that create space for this kind of aggressive behavior, and we change them,” Fisher said.
He believes President Biden will be critical for setting the tone for actually setting actionable change.
“It’s going to give fuel to those who are in seats of power to be able to move forward in changing policy and legislation and feeling like there’s not gonna be kickback from the federal government,” Fisher said.
He has been doing this work for a decade, but says this past year is the first time he’s ever felt law enforcement has taken their cries seriously.
“Are they necessarily listening to us, though?” Fisher asked.
“We’re not there yet. They are trying to defend what they do, trying to get us to understand why they do it that way, and them trying to makes us accept that they are not all that bad as far as the system or the department is concerned,” he added.