Local demonstrators react to Dallas attacks on police - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Local demonstrators react to Dallas attacks on police

Hope RVA organizer Joi Donaldson says they have deep sympathy for all the people who lost their lives over the last three days, they still believe there needs to be a change in how police engage with the black community. (Source: NBC12) Hope RVA organizer Joi Donaldson says they have deep sympathy for all the people who lost their lives over the last three days, they still believe there needs to be a change in how police engage with the black community. (Source: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Protesters across Richmond are speaking out on the violence that erupted in Dallas. Demonstrators who let their voices be heard in Monroe Park just hours before the gunfire aimed at police say they have deep sympathy for all the people who lost their lives over the last three days.

However, groups like Hope RVA say they still believe there needs to be a change in how police engage with the black community.

Hope RVA organizer Joi Donaldson says she and dozens of others protested in Monroe Park to join other demonstrators across the country, including the Black Lives Matter protesters in Dallas. Hours later, gunfire would strike a dozen police officers, killing five of them.

"It has to be hard, because (police) are sworn to serve and protect, and somebody literally just took your life because they thought they could,” said Donaldson, expressing sympathy for the officers who were killed.

However, Donaldson says it’s the same kind of trauma that the black community has endured.

“It's almost like seeing the shoe on the other foot. This is where that shock, and that trauma, and that fear comes from. (I’m) not saying it's right because it's not right for us to feel it (either)," continued Donaldson.

"You have to identify the problem to get to the solution. Stop killing black people who don't pose a threat to you,” said Hope RVA member Trayvon Fulton, who also serves in the U.S. Army. "There are rules of engagement that you have to follow. There's a way to neutralize someone without killing them."

Richmond United for Law Enforcement organizer Cheryl Nici O'Connell says the bullets in Dallas were aimed at not only the officers, but society.

"They're trying to cause division, diversity, and they're crimes of hatred," said Nici O’Connell.

Nici O'Connell is a former Richmond police officer, and survived a bullet to her head, while she was in the line of duty. Nici O’Connell says respect must be shown by the community and police for the violence to end, and that no officer wants to draw their weapon, ever.

"That interaction needs to be based on mutual, two-way respect. (As a police officer) you hope and pray you'll get through your shift without having to pull your weapon. Nobody wants to kill anybody."

Hundreds of people are planning to attend a peace march next Saturday starting in Monroe Park, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. including police.

A community forum is also being set up for next week, where both officers shot in the line of duty and people who've been shot by police, will be uniting and speaking together.

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