WEATHER WATCH
Local community leader shares thoughts on death of George Floyd, what needs to change
To help heal wounds of racial injustice and police brutality, the Rev. Matthew Watts said he believes a conversation needs to be started between community leaders, city officials and police. (WCHS/WVAH)

The death of George Floyd has sent shockwaves around the world, bringing people to the streets in protest.

Many community leaders like the Rev. Matthew Watts with Grace Bible Church pray that things will change this time.

"I think the death of George Floyd was one of the most traumatic events that I've witnessed in my almost 65 years here on this Earth,” Watts said.

To help heal wounds of racial injustice and police brutality, Watts said he believes a conversation needs to be started between community leaders, city officials and police.

"It should be about what are we actually doing?” he said. “Let's look at the records of complaints filed against police officers, how many have been filed? What is our use of force policy and when was the last time it was updated? What happens when a complaint is filed against a police officer? What is the protocol for discipline?”

When it comes to trust between the African-American community and police officers, Watts feels there’s little there.

"If we are really going to make progress moving forward in terms of this very sensitive issue of trust, or lack thereof, between local law enforcement and residents, then it needs to happen ASAP,” Watts said.

Seeing peaceful protests in Charleston and Huntington has given him hope that change may come in the near future.

"If the people don’t continue some form of protest to keep this pressure on, then I'm not sure the politicians will deal with it in the way it needs to be dealt with,” Watts said.

The pastor said this is the perfect time for protestors to take their energy to voting polls with the primary election set for next week in West Virginia.

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