WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Excessive police force is a hot topic and now community members are voicing their opinion.
They say one particular voice needs to be heard. Executive Director of Advance Youth Outreach, Vance Williams, says excessive police force needs awareness, but especially for young black males.
“Are we willing to stand up and say wrong is wrong and I’m tired of it,” Williams said.
He started off by telling his own story.
“I grew up with a single mother, no father, never had a presence to a father,” Williams said.
Williams says this is how he relates to 16 year old Tyrell Rivers. He surrounded this forum around rivers own case.
“The video in question involves Corporal Johnson attempting to subdue Rivers during an arrest,” Williams said.
Williams had a panel of organizers to help raise awareness of excessive police force. Attorney Jennifer Harjo for the Chief Public Defenders Office helped explain your rights.
“Law Enforcement doesn’t have the right to stop anybody without something that’s called reasonable suspicion,” Harjo said.
Mental health specialist Daawud El-Amin explained the lack of father figure in these children’s lives.
“…Of them, about 80% of them have no male in their life,” El-Amin said.
The community was present asking questions.
“What is the policy, or is there a policy with children?” a visitor asked.
All of these people had one goal in mind.
“Our voice has been muffled for so long. It’s time for us to have a voice in the community and you know stress our concerns,” Williams said.
The main goal of this forum was a call to action. They said the key to awareness is the spear of influence and knowing your rights.