Former officer, News 3 crime analyst weighs in on civil unrest, protests

Posted at 2:05 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 18:04:03-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - What are we doing wrong as a community, and how do we move forward?

News 3 got insight from Richard James, who worked in law enforcement for 27 years and previously worked as the Tidewater Community College Chairman for the Department of Justice and Forensic Science.

He’s been a crime analyst for News 3, and wears many hats in the community, including his current role as the chairman for the Norfolk NAACP Legal Redress Team.

He said people need to do a better job of listening to each other.

“We have to understand our differences in how people feel about certain things, because I can’t choose how you feel, you can’t choose how I feel. The only thing I can do is try to understand your point of view,” James said. “We have always overcame the challenges, particularly in the United States of America. We’ve always overcame the challenges. Pandemics are not new and people having distrust in the government is not new.”

James said our differences are what make us a great society, and to help people understand that, he would like to see better leadership.

“I’m looking for that Martin Luther King, that John F. Kennedy to step forward, that’s what I’m looking for,” James said.

He believes law enforcement need to do a better job of policing themselves, and said many citizens don’t have faith in our judicial system. He also said working as a police officer is a dangerous job and it’s concerning for the officer’s family members.

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For years, James has been working to build an African Museum of Arts and Culture near downtown Norfolk. He’s currently working with 13 different countries, and says it would be unlike any other museum in the world, bringing artifacts that are over one million years old to Hampton Roads.

James said museums create dialogues and communication, as well as teach people about mistakes made in history.

“Dialogue creates social glue that we need today, because I think the social fabric that we have is slowly wearing apart over time," James said.

James also said it will take everyone to heal.

According to James, no one wants to see destruction of property or citizens being abused by the police, but said, “If I have to choose a country to be in dealing with some of the social ills that we have, the country that I would choose is the United States of America.”

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