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2 people who were beaten by police, help to create oversight of Denver police

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A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. In 2014, Alexander Landau sat down with StoryCorps to share his story about being beaten by police in Denver.

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ALEXANDER LANDAU: I was just another Black face in the streets, and I was almost another dead Black male.

MARTINEZ: A couple of years later, Landau got a phone call from Nina Askew, who had experienced something similar. She first reached out for legal advice but ended up gaining a lot more. Here, Landau remembers their first conversation.

LANDAU: I remember I was in the kitchen at the time when you and I first connected. I was in the middle of making dinner, and I just abandoned the stove and burned everything that was there because of what you had gone through. Why did you reach out to me?

NINA ASKEW: There's just no support group, unless you can find somebody who can also relate.

LANDAU: Yes.

ASKEW: The part of myself that made me myself was what was kind of broken in that moment. You know, the physical break to my humerus was really easy to heal in comparison to the internal parts that were so broken. After my assault, that was the weakest I'd ever felt in my life, and I told myself, you're never feeling that again. There's something really beautiful about having to really be firm and be still in who I am...

LANDAU: Here I am.

ASKEW: ...Because it really showed me, you can do this, Nina. Like, I don't break.

LANDAU: You know, I've had a child since this happened. I'm trying to tell her, your life matters. You need to stand up for yourself. I mean, every day, she's getting closer and closer to the age where I have to wonder, is she going to come home when she goes out and plays by herself?

ASKEW: What have you told her about what happened to you?

LANDAU: When she was young, she would play with my beard, and she would play with my scars.

ASKEW: The ones on your head?

LANDAU: Yeah. For her, it was like, oh, what is this, you know? It's just her curious mind. But I'm always very honest with her.

ASKEW: You know, sometimes I can, like, see in your face just how it feels to hear another person go through something that traumatic, and so a part of me wants to apologize in a weird way. Like, I'm sorry for doing that.

LANDAU: Honestly, I would do it time and time again because for me that's how I was able to heal, talking about what happened over and over again 'cause you can't process these things overnight. It's never that easy.

ASKEW: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and being a mentor, even though you didn't even know it.

LANDAU: I've watched your growth. I've seen it. And those are the rewarding moments for me, so thank you.

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MARTINEZ: That was Alexander Landau speaking with his friend, Nina Askew. They recently worked to pass a bill creating greater oversight over the Denver Police Department. If you want to share a conversation with someone you care about, StoryCorps invites you to be part of The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Find out more at thegreatlisten.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF RELAXING MUSIC'S "MUSICA PARA SENTARSE Y DESCANSAR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.