AJC: Preachers will ask for crime tips Sunday
This is notable.
The pastors are standing with the police against the pirates.
Again I predict that in about 18 months the pastors will be protesting against the police after some police involved shooting incident which serves as the straw that broke the camel's back in reports of aggressive police tactics that have caused too many residents to become "suspects".
Clearly there needs to be a permanent line of communication in order to prevent some of the "opportunist preachers" to step in and fan the flames against the police for their own empowerment in the community.
I am actually pleased that they have reached out and grabbed a large swath of religious leaders to help out in "taking back the streets".
Pastors across Metro Atlanta will ask parishioners on Sunday to dump their fears of being a “snitch” and call in tips in the shooting death of a Spelman College student.
Jasmine Lynn, 19, was killed around 12:30 a.m. Thursday when she was struck by a stray bullet while walking on James P. Brawley Drive near Clark Atlanta University.
On Friday, Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington met with pastors and police chiefs from Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Clayton counties to propose a plan to stop a spike in crime.
“We have seen an increase in violence and rash crimes in our communities that culminated with Lynn’s [shooting],” said Markel Hutchins, a community activist and ordained minister. “No longer people of faith will sit idly by. We intend to make robbers not only afraid of cops, but the clergy.”
The first step will be Sunday when preachers -- from Marietta to Fayetteville -- plan to include a plea for tips in the Lynn shooting and other high profile crimes.
“We can’t do this by ourselves,” Cobb County Public Safety Director Mickey Lloyd said. “They have a chance every Sunday to talk to a large group of people and we don’t.”
Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenzer Baptist Church, acknowledged that many of the people committing these crimes won’t be in church Sunday, but said some of their parents and grandparents may.
“It’s a tragic day when the message to our children is they are not safe when standing on a street corner,” he said. “If Jasmine Lynn is not safe on a college campus, then none of us are safe.”
The officers and ministers hashed out a plan Friday where each police station or precinct in Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton and Gwinnett counties will be paired with a church. The program, called One Church One Precinct, will work to generate more trust of police in the neighborhoods, Hutchins said.
Hutchins assembled the meeting Friday after Lynn’s shooting, but also said people are angry about the shooting death of boxer Vernon Forrest, a carjacking of a city councilman and the shooting death of an 80-year-old at a laundromat. He insisted that the meeting wasn’t just another gathering of “talking heads” staged for the cameras, but a real effort to get involved and an effort to capitalize on residents’ anger.
“These are high profile crimes and people are outraged,” Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington said.
Pennington said police questioned and released the one person of interest in the Lynn shooing.
Witnesses said they saw two groups of men arguing before the shooting. Despite numerous people being there, no one has been able to give a good description of the shooter, Pennington said.
The only way detectives will be able to solve the case is through community tips, the chief said.
Pennington called Friday’s meeting “productive” and said he needs the preachers to help eliminate residents’ fear of snitching to police.
“We can’t solve all the crimes without citizen participation,” Pennington said. “I know we can sit down at the table in a collaborative way on how we can make this city safer.”
Clayton County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Garland Watkins said he hopes the preachers can carry the message that police have been trying to push to parents.
“Parents need to stop being friends to a child and be a parent to a child,” he said.
In addition to abolishing the “snitch” mentality, the pastors also called for cities to hire more police and relax recruiting standards for officers, including the requirement of a credit check.
The group plans to meet again Sept. 17 at the Cobb County Police Department.