Inside First Calvary Baptist Church in the Newhallville neighborhood of New Haven, dozens came out to demand accountability from their police but also action from their community.
“I think that this is an opportune time to do something daring and risking. I think this is an opportune time not for us to play it safe, but for us to make necessary and tangible change,” said Rev. Daniel Bland of Revival Church.
The Greater New Haven Clergy Association hosted a meeting with police and elected officials representing Hamden, New Haven and Yale.
New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson immediately addressed the treatment of Randy Cox, who became paralyzed after being in police custody. Jacobson promised to do better.
“Right now, I don’t blame you for not trusting us. I don’t blame you. But I say to you, we’re going to regain your trust,” Jacobson said.
New Haven State’s Attorney John Doyle, Jr. also attended and pledged to better the community by concentrating on violent offenders, but also helping individuals who need new direction, new hope and referrals to programs.
“What I plan to do is to take into account my experiences and my background in the City of New Haven and recognize some things that we need to change and some things we need to fix,” Doyle said.
Those who attended wanted to know the vision and values for police departments and how they were going to help those wrongly convicted.
Several activists who spoke said when it comes to bettering their neighborhoods, responsibility comes down to each and every one of them. They said changes can’t happen in meetings where they are, but out in the community where they can reach those most at risk, especially young people.
“They’re struggling out there. They have no hope but the streets,” said one speaker.
“We’re going to stand with one another, and we’re going to take back our community. And we’re going to be the representation for our children that we are supposed to be,” said another speaker.
This Saturday, there’s a Family Day Stop the Violence event beginning at noon. It’s at Lincoln-Bassett Community School Field, and organizers say they hope families will come out and take part.
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