Heated anti-violence forum focuses on kids, community centers

Heated anti-violence forum focuses on kids, community centers
An anti-violence meeting got a little heated Monday night as local residents try to figure out how to keep kids safe this summer. (Source: William Joy/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Jonathan Dooley is tired of non-violence forums, but Monday night, he went to the latest one, this time at Cole's Place.

"I'm tired of analyzing the analysis," he said. "I want solutions. I've been to hundreds of them and nothing has been solved. I want to walk away with something concrete."

Dooley was joined by more than 100 other residents and a handful of council members along with Rep. Darryl Owens.

After brief introductions, the officials opened the floor to hear solutions on violence.

"These children have nowhere to go," one woman shouted.

For more than an hour, dozens of community members shouted about how they're not worried about fights over LMPD Chief Steve Conrad or Maj. Jimmy Harper.

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"I don't think the people who are out there doing and committing these crimes care about the police chief," one woman said.

Added Stephany Walton: "I feel that chief Conrad has done the best job he can do with what he has to work with."

Walton made reference to Gov. Matt Bevin's call last week for those in Louisville's embattled neighborhoods to put faith in the power of prayer. She said praying is not as important as doing, a common theme at Monday's meeting.

"I asked God to please watch over my grandson, and I'm not saying God didn't watch over him, but he's dead today," Walton said.

The focus, just days into summer vacation, was on children and community centers.

"What I would like to see is the parents be held more accountable," a woman said to loud applause.

"Put the money back into the community centers," a man shouted.

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Council members wrote a list of suggestions on a big board at the front of the room. The verdict was that any solution needs to be a joint effort with the community.

"When you harbor these people and you let these people do this stuff and you know what's going on, you're part of the problem," a woman said.

"Nobody's doing nothing," Dooley said. "The chiefs are being chiefs and the Indians are being Indians, but we have to bridge the gap."

Councilwoman Jessica Green raised the question of how to actually get troubled kids to community centers and programs, and that was one for which no one seemed to have an answer.

So far this year, Louisville has seen a slight decrease in the number of shootings form last year, but an increase in homicides.

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