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Jay Z on police brutality: 'There has to be respect on both sides'

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Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Spike

During a press conference held by Jay Z and The Weistein Company on Thursday, the rapper answered questions regarding his thoughts on police brutality and the upcoming election. When asked what he thinks is the key to stopping police brutality and the shootings of unarmed black men, he responded by saying that people simply need to have compassion. 

“When you have compassion for what someone goes through—we’re all looking for a short embrace at time,” he began. “Judgement is the enemy of compassion. When you are able to identify that we’re all not perfect, we may make mistakes. All of us, every single one of us.”

The rapper added that compassion and trust is necessary for those on both sides. 

“When you have compassion for what someone’s going through and their plight, my personal belief, having the camera on someone creates more distrust. When we have an exchange and it has to be recorded, something’s wrong there, something’s broken. A camera can’t fix a relationship between a person that’s hired to protect and serve and society. There has to be a relationship. There has to be respect on both sides.”

The press conference was held so that both parties could announce their upcoming documentary series about prison reform, telling the story of Kalief Browder, who was arrested as a teenager and sent to Rikers Island with no conviction. Browder, who was under suspicion of stealing a backpack, spent three years in prison before he was released in 2013 and completed suicide two years later. The series is set to air on Spike TV in January. 

Read Jay Z’s full commentary on The FADER

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