Richmond Police to Hold Farce Public Forum

20150131_231254-1 Written By: Nathan Cox

Richmond’s NBC12 recently published

A date is now set for Richmond police to have a public forum with local protesters. The community meeting, planned for February 10th, comes after more than two months of rallies across the city concerning police conduct, and a slew of other issues.

Protests sprung up nationally since the officer-involved shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Protesters say they want to ask Richmond police about officer conduct and protocol.

No topic is off the table, according to demonstrators. They say they’ll be asking questions like “If an officer asks me to take my hands out of my pockets, do I have to?”

Both demonstrators and police say they want an open dialogue. The public forum will be held at the Police Training Academy on February 10th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.. Citizens will write in questions, which will be read by local radio personality Clovia Lawrence, who is acting as the moderator. Organizers are using the social media hashtag #PeepsAndPolice.

The goal is to create understanding and transparency among police and the people they serve, according to demonstrators. It’s something that local protesters say is lacking. Add to that a more serious, national concern of police profiling, harassment or brutality….

My problems, questions and concerns with this are:

  • Why only 90 minutes for a forum?
  • What is the seating occupancy for this event? How many people can the room pack?
  • Is the only way to ask a question by writing it on paper?
  • Are they going to allow a chance to rebuttal answers given, to questions asked?
  • Are they going to allow cameras?
  • How can the public be assured that ALL questions, no matter how pointed and tough they are will actually make it’s way to being asked?
  • What will happen if questions aren’t answered or aren’t answered satisfactory?
  • What if 150 people turn out and half of them half at least one question? I mean seriously, this is a disgrace. This needs to be a half-a-day event where there is a panel of both police and activists and people in the audience who can ask questions to both police and activists. There also needs to be an opportunity to rebuttal to answers given by police employees, this is what a true dialogue is all about. However we KNOW that police fear transparency, they fear accountability, they fear tough questions, dogs, unarmed people & individuals who know their rights.

    If the Richmond Police is serious about regaining the support and trust of the public and serious about having a “dialogue” with the public, I personally challenge the department to hold a more acceptable forum that’s a minimum of 3-4 hours, with an entire month to help get the word out to people in the community who may want to come and be apart of it, whether it’s to ask questions or simply just listen.

    Below is some questions asked by individuals who commented on the NBC12 article we posted on our facebook page – along with some of our own questions.