CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - On Friday night, city councilwoman LaWana Mayfield hosted a community forum in an attempt to bridge the gap between the community and its police officers.
The forum was the result of controversy between law enforcement and Mayfield that all started with Mayfield’s tweet:
“Being black in America under #45 has created home-grown terrorists wearing blue uniforms #areckoningiscoming.”
"If we're going to have a real conversation about racial healing before you can heal you have to at least acknowledge the pain,” Mayfield said.
She says she held the forum for community members so that they understand they should demand elected officials create and support legislation and policy ensuring officers are properly trained. She says the conversation tonight is long overdue, adding to her frustration that was let out in a tweet.
"That was sent out of my frustration as an African-American female seeming like almost every day that I wake up and turn on the news or go online there's another incident of a young black male or a young black female that has been killed because of an interaction with a police officer,” she said.
Thomas Vinson believes these meetings are necessary but he says it's been the same rhetoric for years. tonight members of CMPD were not invited. Vinson says to bridge the gap both sides need to be there.
"Putney wouldn't have been a part of it anyway. He's usually never a part of the discussion we have. He'll send some of his other officers but Chief Putney is never there, it's probably two or three officers whenever we have these meetings,” Vinson said.
Former CMPD Police Chief Rodney Monroe was on the panel and helped introduce an innovative police training system that would set charlotte apart from other cities.
"Now with this new virtual reality training people actually walking through each other's shoes it's going to be a different conversation when you're coming out of the program,” said Gregory Jackson, Executive Director of Heal Charlotte.
Mayfield says this event is just one of a three-part series. Many of the people we spoke to tonight said they will definitely be back for the next event.