RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It was billed as a community forum – the chance for Raleigh residents to connect with police.
The forum Monday night was also a chance to ask questions and address their concerns.
The meeting came less than a week after two fatal police shootings both involved black men. Then, just a day later — five Dallas police officers were killed.
“We want to say tonight that we cannot to respond to racism with racism. To violence with violence,” said Rev. Portia Rochelle of the Raleigh/Apex NAACP.
Residents were direct, frank as they spoke to and asked questions of Raleigh Police Chief Cassanda Deck-Brown.
“In the case of Mr. Phil in Minnesota who complied and still lost his life,” Joyce Russell said, referring to one of the two deadly shootings.
“I saw the same video that you saw and I don’t have an answer. I can’t answer that,” Deck-Brown replied.
A mom in the audience asked about her young son’s future.
“I’m representing my son here Noah. He’s six years old. He has no clue what’s going on in this world, I’d love to protect him from that. But it’s getting harder and harder every event,” said India Williams.
Williams was speaking for many parents when she asked the chief what she could do to protect her son if he gets stopped by police.
“One of the most dangerous facets of law enforcement is that traffic stop because there is an assumption at times and miscommunication at other times and sometimes that happens on both sides,” Chief Deck-Brown said.
The chief says that her officers undergo twice the amount of training that’s required by the state.
Less than a mile from the meeting with the police chief, folks were coming together at the Quarry Street Park. They were planning a cookout to celebrate what community organizers say was a truce between the gangs in Raleigh.
“They come to realize that why are we shooting each other, why are we killing each other and they want to get this message out to the community. That they no longer have to live in fear of them,” said Diana Powell about the truce.