By: Tony R. McCray
The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Beta Omicron Chapter has once again placed its Lamplighter male youth leadership mentoring group in the local community stage spotlight. This time the location was the Zion Hope Primitive Baptist Church on West Leonard Street on Thursday July 14th at 6:30 pm. There was a panel which included representation from law enforcement, the ACLU, a local attorney,
Some of the panelists were:
City of Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander
Attorney Aaron Watson
Doug Baldwin Sr.
Deputy Sheriff Martin
Officer Garland McKenzie
Keyontay Humpries (ACLU)
The flyer marketing the event called on “Youth, Parents, and Leaders” for a dialogue with local Community leaders. There were questions being asked on the flyer such a, “Are all cops racist?”, “What Should I Tell My Son?” “How Should I Respond to Police?” Therefore, the flyer placed major emphasis on the community and law enforcement relationship in the larger community context.
Discussions centered around the definition of family, clarity of community complaints on law enforcement, the use of cell phones to record interactions between civilians and law enforcement, the role of community organizations in working with area youth, and the legalities of cell phone usage when in a confrontation with police.
Chief David Alexander commented that officers should identify themselves and civilians should ask for the officer’s name when a confrontation may arise. He also said that law enforcement leadership’s attitudes toward complaints are important. Emphasis on utilizing cell phone recording devices was discussed back and forth during the town hall. In fact, at one point, it was stated to by an unidentified participant, “Pull out your cell phone and record, record, record”!
Keyontay Humphries made it clear on usage of cell phones for documenting what appears to be a potentially explosive arrest or interaction between the police and an average person. She stated, “Turn the microphone off”. However, “Keep the video recording”.
David Williams served as the moderator of the panel discussion. Williams is a volunteer from the community and serves as the Coordinator of Program Activities. He is not a member of the fraternity as the Omegas are involving non-members in the youth mentoring activities. Williams brought up the following statistics to add to the town hall discussion:
– The John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center
reported that 3,523 of high risk youth (teens) living at home and supported by intensive community based programs nationwide, 86 percent remained arrest free while in the program.
– Is is said that locking up juveniles makes them more likely to be adult
– Statistics say Pensacola violent crime, on a scale from 1 – 100, is 71.
Violent crime is composed of four offenses: Murder and manslaughter,
forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. The U.S. average 41 percent.
– Pensacola property crime, on a scale from 1 – 100, is 61. Property crime
includes the offense of burglary, theft, motor vehicle and arson. The U.S.
average is 43 percent.
During a question and answer period the president of the Pensacola Chapter of Omega Lamplighters, Brayn Freeman confronted his peers to stand up and challenged them by
asking “What will you do?” He went on to encourage them to make an effort to change
and progressively become the upstanding citizens that they all have the potential to be.