Fri Nov 28 19:42:39 PST 2014
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Local Reaction to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

November 25, 2014 It is a decision being felt all over the country. "Initially I was disappointed, very disappointed but I was also encouraged opposed to being discouraged because this is an opportunity for us to truly build bridges within our community," said Wes Bellamy, president of the Young Black Professionals Network. Bellamy says Michael Brown's story affects the entire country not just Ferguson, Missouri. "This is starting to become a common occurrence of young African-American males being killed at the hands of police officers. This is indeed a serious situation and is not just being segmented to one particular part of the country. This is happening all across the country. Who is to say this couldn't happen right here in Charlottesville," said Bellamy. Bellamy says locally, we should not focus on asking what are we going to do but instead what are we already doing. "We need to begin to have more African-Americans in our police forces. We need to have more African-Americans in positions of authority. We need to have African-Americans on city council in different positions making and working on some of these policy decisions we need to being to work together," he said. Still, those four words, ‘hands up don't shoot’ are sparking frustration, anger and hostility for people who say the same story is happening far too often. The Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP issued a statement about the verdict saying: "All branches of the NAACP are deeply disappointed that the grand jury did not indict Darren Wilson for the senseless and tragic death of Michael Brown. While we are frustrated, we stand committed to continue our fight against racial profiling, police brutality and militarization of local authorities in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. We will remain steadfast in our fight to pass the End of Racial Profiling legislation. And we stand in solidarity and uphold that civil rights not be violated as both demonstrators and authorities observe the “rules of engagement."

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