Black community leaders hosted a vigil for two slain New York police officers on Sunday and called for better relations between black communities and law enforcement.
Organized by the Triangle Martin Luther King Jr. Committee and held at First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh, the event was sparsely attended by civilian residents, but plenty of Raleigh police officers were present, including Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, who spoke at the event.
Speakers emphasized the importance of living by King’s famous call to “meet physical force with soul force.” But they also said law enforcement’s physical force has been recently overused.
North Carolina Central University School of Law professor Irving L. Joyner said the power of law enforcement needs to be checked and monitored.
“It’s not Fallujah and it’s not Afghanistan, and we don’t need officers who think that’s where we are,” Joyner said. “With (their) power, there’s also a need for discretion and discernment.”
State Rep. Rosa Gill, state Sen. Dan Blue and Wake County Board of Commissioners chairman James West spoke at the event. The Rev. William Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, also addressed the audience.
Organizers collected money for the families of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, the two New York City police officers who were gunned down Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.