Community, police continue conversation, hope for change

Town hall meeting with CMPD

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After recent violence both at the hands of, and targeting police officers, communities throughout the country and in the Charlotte area have started conversations with law enforcement. Sunday, two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers continued that conversation in a town hall meeting.

Myron Barnes has always gotten nervous when police stop him on the road, even before Philando Castile was shot and killed by an officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota.

"Whenever I'm being pulled over, of course there's that tension," Barnes said.

Barnes made sure he and his children went to the town hall meeting to get insight on what goes on in the minds of CMPD officers during traffic stops and other situations. He wants to be more understanding of their job, hoping this keeps him and his family safe.

"You create an opportunity or bridge for both of us to cross over to see each side," Barnes said.

Several neighbors asked questions to the two police officers. Many expressed their fears as it relates to the police.

Major Freda Lester says hearing about these fears was difficult. She wanted to take the opportunity to see what she can do to get the department to make necessary changes.

"It's just painful because I know so many good officers at CMPD that do wonderful work, and who are very dedicated to treating people fairly," Lester said. "It's really important for me to make sure I can listen to concerns, and maybe take that back to the department."

That is the part both Lester and neighbors say needs to happen next: action. Lester says it's going to take teamwork to make change.

"The community come to us, we go to the community, and let's work together," Lester said.

This is the first time this particular town hall meeting has been organized, but organizers want to use this to lead to more face-to-face discussions with CMPD officers.

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