Citizens voice concerns regarding Charleston Police Department use of force policy


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A public forum was held at Emmanuel Baptist Church for the Charleston community to voice their questions and concerns about Charleston Police Department’s use of force policy following an October 14 arrest. The video of the arrest of Freda Gilmore released nearly 3 weeks ago sent the internet in a frenzy.

While the community had their disagreements with how the incident was handled, city officials believe the forum was a step in the right direction.

“We need to continue this conversation”, says Mayor Amy Goodwin, “We need to continue to have more conversations like this. Tonight was an unscripted, open dialogue with a lot of good ideas”.

Citizens were vocal about what happened and what they wanted to see for the future.

“Tonight’s takeaway is that I get it. I understand all the frustration and all of the concern”, says Goodwin.

While Charleston Police Chief Opie Smith took some heat, he said it was to be expected.

“It just shows they care”, exclaimed Chief Smith, “That’s what we wanted. More folks to come out and we wanted to hear their issues”.

Several questions were asked about the use of force policy and if the police department would change it. Chief Smith says this is something the police department will continue to investigate.

“People want transparency. I think the use of force needs to be looked at very hard”, says Chief Smith.

Mayor Goodwin told WOWK 13 News she will be sitting down with council members within the next 10 days to discuss concerns taken from the meeting.

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