Fargo Police Bond Through Basketball

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Fargo Police are engaging with the community in a unique way. A recent interaction has gone viral.

As of lately, police around the country have been heavily scrutinized. Fargo Police are making an effort to change that.

“Not all cops are bad,” says Bruce Shields in the video he took of a unique police interaction.

A simple game of pick-up basketball that turned out to be so much more than friendly competition.

“Everyone’s been seeing the brutality videos as far as policeman and policeman yelling at people online and I just wanted to kind of take a stand and take a leap of faith and record the video and make sure it got out there,” says Shields.

Amidst a time of anti-police protests and unrest nationwide, a group of Fargo police officers pulled up to Bruce and his friends’ game of basketball by Dike West in downtown Fargo.

“They were obviously coming down here for something and the people around me felt as if it was, or if they had to flee or get out of here or something like that,” Shields says.

But when they challenged the officers to a game, what happened next was surprising.

“They were down by the park and they saw an opportunity to engage some young people in a basketball game which really opens up a lot of chains of communication that might not be there,” says Lt. Michael Mitchell of Fargo Police.

And with most of the officers in their 20’s, in full uniform complete with gun and handcuffs, it was a nail biter.

“It was really a physical game. I didn’t think that they would be so willing and confident. I mean it looked like a Spurs team out there,” says Q Dillon, one of the players.

Ferguson, New York, Baltimore and Cleveland are all cities that have been plagued with violence and anger. But Fargo Police are happy to be shedding a positive light on policing.

“If we have something positive happen here and something that gains national media attention, you know our hope is that that would transition to all agencies and they can learn from it and maybe try to model some of their behavior after what our officers are doing,” Mitchell says.

The police officers came out on top with a final score of 9 to 7. Officials say officers are starting to carry sports equipment in their squad cars to join in on more pick-up games in the future.