CHICAGO — Bulls star Dwyane Wade is the latest celebrity to speak out on the discord between police and black Americans, saying his affluent children are growing up fearing law enforcement just like he did in poverty.
Wade made the remarks during a sweeping interview that aired Friday morning on "Good Morning America." Wade, of south suburban Robbins, gave the interview less than a week after his cousin Nykea Aldridge was killed while pushing a stroller in Parkway Gardens.
While Wade said the city and country need tougher gun laws and better rehabilitative efforts for prisoners, he also spoke personally to the police distrust embedded deep in black neighborhoods — and within his own family.
"You try to teach your kids right from wrong ... but then they come back to you and say 'hey dad, kids are being killed by police, I thought you said police officers were safe.'"
"My boys are afraid of the police the same way I was growing up," he said.
Wade quickly clarified that the fear doesn't extend to all police, but added that his children "hear everything that's going on in the world, all the harassment, all the murders."
"They pose the question back to me and what answer do I have for them?" Wade said.
The interview quickly drew a response from the Chicago Police Department, which is still trying to repair its image after several recent high-profile police shootings amid a soaring murder rate.
"Each and every day, the vast majority of Chicago police officers work very hard to forge stronger bonds between officers and citizens and that work will continue," Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said in a statement. "Additionally, our fight against violent offenders who torment neighborhoods with gun violence is unwavering. Every day, officers put their lives at risk engaging armed offenders and nearly every hour, they take another illegal gun off our city streets."
Wade, who is returning to Chicago this fall after playing 13 seasons with the Miami Heat, said it's his "purpose" to be "the voice that can help bring people together."
He also speaks to the trauma his own family has gone through since his cousin's murder, and responds to presidential candidate Donald Trump using the tragedy "for political gain."
Watch the full interview here.
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