News 12 hosts Unrest in America Virtual Town Hall
News 12 hosted a virtual Town Hall on Facebook Live Tuesday night, which featured a discussion about racism, social justice and policing.
Local leaders and law enforcement officials from both Nassau and Suffolk joined News 12's Rich Barrabi for the conversation.
Dan Lloyd of Minority Millenials was also part of the talk. He organized and participated in several demonstrations on Long Island in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. He says the momentum with the movement and the push for change remains strong.
Lloyd says he supports efforts to address systemic racism, including largely defunding police departments.
"You can take big police budgets and reinvest in housing, education, mental health services. Would better serve community," says Lloyd.
Suffolk County Legislator Jason Richberg says all levels of government must be receptive to change.
"We all have to have a seat at the table. These young people are expecting change, we have to take the right step," he says.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon says President Donald Trump's order mandating some police reforms is a positive sign.
Members of law enforcement on the panel were against the idea of cutting funds for police departments. Suffolk PBA President Noel DiGerolmao warned against demonizing all police officers.
"Minnesota was unacceptable. Also unacceptable that 89 police officers were killed in line of duty. Eight black officers killed. No one talks about that," he says.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder acknowledged the need for police to understand different points of view.
"A 58-year-old white man can't relate to young people," says Ryder. "These kids are not dumb. they want substance and return. Engagement and conversation are important."
Education is necessary as well, according to the panel. Plainview-Old Bethpage Schools Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis says educators must view current events as a teachable moment.
WATCH: Full Unrest in America Town Hall