On July 9, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and the Tallahassee chapter of the Nationwide Motion Community (NAN) held a “From Rhetoric to Motion” symposium on race relations. RB Holmes, pastor at Bethel and president of the Tallahassee NAN chapter, spoke about “reimagining police and group relations.”
The symposium got here after Tallahassee protests following the officer-involved capturing of Tony McDade in addition to nationwide protests towards police brutality.
Holmes voiced sturdy opposition to defunding or dismantling the police division, stating that the Nationwide Motion Community and a coalition of group pastors don’t endorse defunding the police. Defunding the police has been a nationwide debate all through Black Lives Matter protests.
“We don’t assist defunding or dismantling the police division,” he stated. “That’s ethical and psychological suicide.”
He additionally pushed again towards calls to take away Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell, who has been police chief since January 2020. Protestors have known as for his resignation in the wake of three deadly officer-involved shootings underneath his management.
“We’ve got not at this level requested for the resignation of the police chief or that the sheriff be dethroned,” Holmes stated. “That’s our official place. We is not going to ask for resignation of the police chief. We is not going to ask for the sheriff to be dethroned.”
“I’m stating this with nice energy and nice ardour,” he stated. “We are going to work by our challenges. We are going to strengthen police, legislation enforcement, and group relations. We are going to enhance and enhance police transparency and openness. We are going to create extra packages for deprived neighborhoods to assist us bolster police and citizen respect and honor. We are going to educate our younger individuals to respect law enforcement officials and vice versa.”
He additionally stated Black-on-Black crime should be addressed.
“We should converse strongly and boldly towards Black-on-Black crime,” he stated. “We can not proceed to miss what’s occurring in our communities on a constant foundation. That’s our accountability as group leaders. We don’t condone police misconduct, and we can not condone Black-on-Black crime.”
Following Holmes remarks, the symposium shifted to discussions on different points affecting Black communities, together with funds, healthcare, and voting.
Sheriff Walt McNeil was additionally current at the symposium as a panelist. He echoed Holmes’ remarks on Black-on-Black crime. He additionally asserted that individuals must reevaluate the position of the police.
“We attempt to step into the hole of coping with all of the points, and disproportionately we reply to the African-American group,” he stated.
“Certainly one of the issues I hope we will do is begin to re-look at what’s the position of police in our group,” McNeil stated. “We are able to’t be every little thing to all people.”
“I need to go from rhetoric to motion,” he stated. “I’m hopeful that we take some motion right here this morning and we stroll away making an attempt to make a change in our group.”
Final month, McNeil additionally defended native legislation enforcement.
He stated he didn’t consider that white legislation enforcement officers in Leon County goal Black residents for brutality.
“The actual fact of the matter is while you get unhealthy cops, they arrive in all races and colours and genders,” McNeil stated. “It’s the particular person; it’s not any group.”
McNeil stated he hopes the group will hold transferring ahead with a dialogue on how it’s policed.