Fayetteville protest organizers meet with police to talk unity

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A protest near Fayetteville State University got heated at times, with one person arrested as they tried making their way toward the Markethouse Monday night.

Fayetteville police had the area blocked off to prevent further looting and damage.

“It became a little volatile and there was an arrest,” said Fayetteville Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins.

It ended peacefully after enforcement officers knelt with the protesters.

“Yesterday we laid a brick, so it’s a step in the right direction,” said Ryan Ford, the protest organizer, and local pastor.

Hawkins said there were “tears from both sides.”

After the kneeling, as the crowd was leaving, Lt. Mike Petti with Fayetteville police went up to talk with one of the protesters. They shared an emotional hug.

“When I got to her my intention was to tell her not all police agencies are created the same, she thanked me and I believe she said I know you’re just doing your job,” Petti said.

Ford met with Hawkins for a couple of hours today to talk about how the community can unite.

“I’m building a bridge and not a wall, and that bridge has to be built on a foundation of trust,” Ford said. “So there was a lot of talking about how we can build this trust in the community, and again I think it went really well.”

After that meeting, a group of officers, clergy and community members all praying together at city hall.

“We’ve been wanting to share that we are in solidarity with the community a long time ago,” Hawkins said about kneeling with the protesters.

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