NPD chief: Put the same passion behind social justice protests into fighting gun violence

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone wants to see the same passion advocates have exhibited while pushing police reforms put to further use: toward curbing gun violence in the city.

In a video posted Wednesday in response to the shooting of a 1-month-old infant the night prior, Boone said in a sober tone: “We’re here again.” He was referencing the seemingly cyclical pattern of violence in the community.

Since Memorial Day weekend, Norfolk Police detectives have investigated 15 homicides, according to incident reports on the city’s open data portal. In the same time period in 2019, they investigated 14.

“Unfortunately, in some cases, it appears that the community has become desensitized to this type of shooting,” Boone said in the video Wednesday evening.

Boone then shifted to talking about the recent protests held to highlight police reform, community policing and “disparities that exponentially affect Black and brown people.” He pointed out that hundreds of marchers risked contracting COVID-19 to have their voices heard in the last three months, since George Floyd died in police custody.

Protesters across the United States — and world — have gathered for protests, other demonstrations, art projects and community discussions in the wake of the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, who died while in custody of Minneapolis Police.

‘Yet and still, I await the outcry, the calls, emails and unmitigated powerful synergy that led this summer’s movement for social justice to impact Norfolk’s gun violence in Hampton Roads,” Boone said.

Boone, who has been outspoken on the issue of youth gun violence in particular, was recently appointed to the Virginia Crime Commission by Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia). He believes energy needs to be put into assisting young men with guidance, employment, and “the self-confidence that doesn’t roll through the barrel of a gun.”

“If we are truly in this together, let’s get together,” Boone said. “This is not a problem for the police to this is a societal problem. And until we look it at that direction, things will never change.”

Click here to watch the full video Boone recorded on Wednesday.


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