Savoy Heights residents address concerns with police

February 7, 2013 8:15:23 PM PST
Community members are demanding answers from the Fayetteville Police Department about a shooting involving an officer that left a man dead.

Protestors marched outside of the police department Thursday evening. They wanted to know why it took the department more than week to name the officer involved in the death of Nijza Hagans.

Hagans was killed by a Fayetteville police officer in January during a traffic stop.

"That's an ongoing investigation. That's what this meeting is not about," said Cumberland County Commissioner at Large Charles Evans.

Instead, Evans and city leaders organized Thursday's meeting for residents of Savoy Heights to address their concerns with police. That's just what residents did.

"Hands down, I am scared of the Fayetteville Police Department," said one woman.

"They don't care nothing about you," said one man.

Emotions ran high at the meeting, and many had a lot to say.

"Is what we're doing here, is it going to be heard is it going to be recognized or tomorrow is it going to be swept under the rug," said another man.

At the end of the hour, Interim Police Chief Katherine Bryant said that would not be the case.

"I think there is an issue with how we approach certain situations and certain operations and that there is an opportunity to develop better ways of talking to people and how we follow up on different types of police situations," said Bryant.

"I don't think there was a lot of answers but, hopefully from the answers that we did get, they can build a relationship with the community," said resident Ramon Clark.

So while it was not the meeting protestors hoped to have, many in attendance hope it will make a difference for their community, themselves and their children.

Community leaders urge residents to continue voice their concerns, hold police accountable and participate in meetings such as the community watch, to keep this process of change moving.

The next watch meeting is Saturday at 11 a.m.

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