HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Two local police chiefs are speaking out after a grand jury in Missouri decided a Ferguson police officer will not be charged in the shooting death of Micheal Brown.
On Monday night, Newport News Police Chief Richard Myers Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult released a joint statement, outlining the ways their departments are reaching out to local communities to help residents deal with the decision in Ferguson.
“As a community, there is no better time to unite around the causes of justice, free speech and public safety,” the statement read, in part.
10 On Your Side went to Newport News to talk to Chief Myers about his reaction to the decision. He’s been following this situation in Missouri closely, because he dealt with a similar situation as the police chief in Sanford, Fla., just after Treyvon Martin was killed.
Because of his experience, Missouri State Police called Myers, just after the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson. They asked for his advice in handling the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. Myers also traveled to Ferguson to talk with officers and city leaders there.
Myers told WAVY.com no matter what outcome is, there really is no winner whenever there is a police-involved shooting.
“I am not making any judgements, because I haven’t seen all the evidence a grand jury will have heard,” Myers told WAVY.com. “One smart thing the prosecutor is doing is saying he is going to release all the transcripts of the evidence, after this is over. Then we can all take a look and see what evidence was put in front of them, and then you can make a judgement.”
In the meantime, Myers is speaking to residents in his city about bridging the gap between police officers and citizens.
10 On Your Side asked the police chief if there is any concern about violence on the Peninsula, in reaction to the Ferguson decision. He said, absolutely. But he said he hopes everyone will take the time to read the Ferguson grand jury’s findings before doing something drastic.
Myers and Sult have reached out to community and church leaders on the Peninsula. They hope churches can convince people, if they protest, to do so in peace.
In the same effort, the Hampton Branch NAACP will hold a Vigil For Peace and Justice, along with faith and community leaders, and local law enforcement.
“The vigil is a place where citizens can gather in a comfortable setting to support each other in protest of the Ferguson verdict, and to also highlight the tragic shootings of young people in our local and surrounding communities. The Vigil for Peace and Justice will also serve to reinforce the Hampton Branch NAACP’s commitment of helping to strengthen relationships between the community and law enforcement,” said Gaylene Kanoyton, Hampton Branch NAACP president.
The vigil will be held at noon on Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Hampton, 229 N. King Street.