August 27, 2014
Ebenezer Baptist Church on 6th street in Charlottesville will soon be full of leaders in the community addressing how the events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri could happen here.
“Could the events of Ferguson happen in the town that I live in and regrettably I believe that it could,” says Dr. Lehman Bates, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
On August 9th Mike Brown, an unarmed black teen, was shot and killed by a police officer. Since then there have been protests in the streets calling for justice.
The events in Ferguson have also shined a light on issues in other communities.
Dr. Bates says tonight is about brining those issues to light and finding solutions.
“The fact that there is a general uneasiness and instability in our community just the social decay that's happening not just in our community, but nationwide,” says Bates. “It is an acknowledgement that a problem exists and that needs to be solved collectively.”
“You could have civil unrest because of a tragic encounter of police and citizens everywhere in America,” says Charlottesville Police Chief, Timothy Longo. “The question is and it's a much deeper question is how did that happen because it didn't happen overnight.”
Chief Longo is also speaking tonight and is already working on ways to increase police trust in the community, including releasing a statement of commitment reinforces the role of police officers.
“That's a commitment to the constitutional and civil rights of everyone, that's a commitment to professional ethical, responsible and constitutional based policing principles and it's a commitment to greater transparency,” says Longo.
He says now is the time to talk about strategy and how to move forward with building trust in the community.
The event takes place tonight at 6:30 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.