'America is ready for a turning point' on race relations: Missouri family

Martha Raddatz interviews Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., on "This Week."
4:34 | 09/06/20

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Transcript for 'America is ready for a turning point' on race relations: Missouri family
How do you think the relationship between the black community and the police department has changed, if it There's more transparency. Also, we haven't seen in some parts of the St. Louis area, some, we haven't seen the excessive force on protesters. But now in some communities of St. Louis it's the exact same way. I was just tear gassed. We were maced just in July. You know, so we have a lot of work to do. Missouri congressional candidate Cori bush speaking with me just before we got on the road. She's a rising Progressive political star, who got her start as a black lives matter organizer in Ferguson. Where the police killing of Michael Brown galvanized the movement. I was there in 2014 and went back for this week's road trip to see what's changed for voters across Missouri in a summer marked by more high-profile violence against black Americans. We kick off a new ABC news series and ask, has the nation reached a "Turning point" on race relations? Ferguson's police chief Jason Armstrong has been on the job for just over a year. His goal -- to help serve as a bridge between law enforcement and the black community. You were out with the protesters, marching with the protesters after George Floyd was killed. When they asked me to March with them, that's what I felt in my heart. I look at me as being in the middle of an important issue and how can I use that uniqueness that I bring to the table of being a black man and being a chief of police in today's world, how can I use that to help better relationships. How can I help use that to bridge some gaps that we have. Reporter: That Ferguson restaurant owner we heard from earlier in the program, Kathy Jenkins, had her windows smashed during the 2014 unrest. The vandals that were destroying property weren't the same people as the protesters. What about after the killing of George Floyd? What was different, we had white and black protesters out, together, protesting. It was wonderfully friendly. Reporter: Recent polling shows support for the black lives matter movement has grown since 2014, but St. Louis has seen some opposition. The mccloskeys represent one extreme of the political wedge over protest-related violence. We have to recognize that sometimes violence isn't a message of hate, but it's really a cry for help. Reporter: This St. Louis voter was 18 when she first took part in black lives matter protests. What would you say to mccloskeys? I definitely agree with a conversation about needing to have law and with order. With that comes having a conversation about justice. It's the same idea, all we're needing on is to have a discussion about how we get there. Reporter: Across the state, another conversation unfolding on racism in a painful way. Standing inside my doorway, and someone essentially screamed a racial slur at me. Reporter: Jamari Roland is an army veteran now working for the state department, he and his wife moved from California to Kansas City in June with their young children and say as an interracial couple they were met with repeated and overt hostility. It's hard for me to hear it come toward my husband. But it's really hard for me to hear it towards my kids. Even more, stay with your own kind directed to me is really difficult to swallow. It's astonishing for it to be so bold, vocal and loud and proud. Racism shouldn't be proud. Reporter: But after the couple started publishing a blog and local news outlets started picking it up, they saw a shift. I mean we're flooded with e-mails, reaching out, the support, never in a million years expected this, ever. Do you think it's kind of a turning point for your family? Do you think the nation is at a turning point? I believe we are. There's been a lot of tension in the past several months. I think people are fed up. I think that people feel that they have a voice. The minority of people who are very negative, giving us negative feedback are completely overshadowed by the positive. So, yes, America's ready for a turning point.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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