Local leaders call on residents to come together to rally for peace

A protest is scheduled for later this week in the Village of Hempstead.

News 12 Staff

Jun 3, 2020, 11:22 AM

Updated 1,509 days ago

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Community leaders in Hempstead gathered Wednesday ahead of a planned protest later in the week to give a collective local response to national unrest.
Leaders expressed that they too felt anger and sadness over recent police brutality in the nation and support community members rights to protest. Adding though that violence, looting and rioting will not be tolerated.
Village of Hempstead Police Chief Paul Johnson said he felt the relationship between the community and police officers has strengthened in Hempstead over the last few years. He said he wanted to be ahead of any issues prior to protesting so there is no stepping backward.
He laid out how officers are working to keep things peaceful and safe. Plans have included overlapping shifts so more officers can patrol at a given time and the reassigning of special units to help deal with large crowds. Going over policies and procedures, including de-escalation strategies, have also been paramount.
“It is unfortunate that the use of excessive force by law-enforcement specifically and matters involving African-Americans, has created an environment of distrust and anxiety between police departments and communities they have sworn to protect. I am committed to repairing and reinforcing him says relationship with the community. We stand united against police brutality in any form,” he added.
Officers and leaders in faith encouraged conversation between different ages and races and asked the community not to wait until they get to the protest line.
Bishop Phillip Elliot of the Antioch Baptist Church explained, “I think as we come up with a vaccine for the virus of racism— as we are tenaciously trying to come up with a vaccine for the coronavirus— I think we would do well to make sure we’re not talking at one another, that the only conversations were having are not just at press conferences and these kinds of protests. That somehow we have to find space to sit down at the table of brotherly love.”
The Village of Hempstead Police Department said the community can reach out to voice concerns and ask questions any time.
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