Portsmouth community holds protest against Mayor Kenny Wright

Posted at 2:51 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 19:45:18-05

Portsmouth, Va. - There is drama unfolding in Portsmouth as a community activist holds a protest against the Mayor Kenny Wright.

It began at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday outside of City Hall.

Portsmouth police confirmed that they are investigating the 27th homicide of the year - a big jump from the 11 that they investigated in 2014.

The sharp rise has people like Pastor Barry Randall upset with the city's leadership particularly the Mayor.

"I saw a pattern of failed leadership when the Mayor would not speak to the public through the media and he would not speak to people in general and I'm trying to figure out 'Does he not know his role?' He's an elected official," said Randall, who organized the protest.

"We're going to ask our mayor to either lead or leave. We need somebody who's capable and knows what to do," said Randall.

NewsChannel 3 reached out to Mayor Wright several times today - he would only respond with this text message:

We shouldn't be pointing fingers, or exploiting violence for personal or political gains. Working together with all of our "community stakeholders" is the only way to reduce these senseless crimes! We extend our thoughts and prayers to family members who may have lost a love one through violence! We are committed to making our communities safer.

Randall said, "We just need to know what plans are in place that can say 'Sir, you can go to the store at night. ma'am you can go to the store at night and be safe."

Hopes of making the community safer is probably one of the only things on which everyone can agree.

On Thursday, the Mayor and City Council are holding a press conference called "Stop the violence, save our children, save our neighborhoods."

Portsmouth residents are invited to attend and the Mayor and City Council members will address the continuing issues of urban violence and crime both nationally and locally.

Residents say the City of Portsmouth will launch a campaign for all aspects of the community to become engaged to begin a long process of change.

The event starts at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Portsmouth Council Chambers 801 Crawfoot Street on the 6th Floor.