Protester sits down with Norfolk Police chief to work toward solutions

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 07:01:05-04

NORFOLK, Va. - While the calls for justice and equality reverberate across the country, one demonstrator is putting his words into action.

Mykael Dashiell, 26, is pushing for change.

“What we need to do is come together as a community and figure out what needs to be changed,” said Dashiell. “As soon as we’re able to address the common problem between everybody, that’s when we can get common denominator fixed.”

Thursday afternoon, the Virginia Beach resident had a one-on-one with Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. The pair first met at a peaceful protest in front of the police station last Saturday, May 30.

During that demonstration, Boone gave several people his cellphone number and told them to call him to keep the conversation moving forward.

“There’s always something that can be done,” Boone said. “What I want to do is start meeting with those folks that were out there in those streets, hearing their concerns and giving them opportunity to provide input in which they’re going to actually see that we heard them and we implemented certain policies that address their concerns.”

Dashiell is determined to end the cycle of violence.

The former Marine said during their meeting, they spoke about how having better communication can help with forming a better relationship and trust.

“The police and the community itself have to be more vocal with each other about their displeasures of each other’s actions,” he said. “If we both meet in middle as far as each other’s actions, then obviously, there should be no problem.”

Chief Boone has already made a policy change after George Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests vowing for change.

The chief announced Thursday he will no longer train recruits on the chokehold technique. A chokehold was what cost Floyd his life on May 25 at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Related: Newport News Police Chief explains recruiting process, background checks for potential officers

Boone said officers will only be allowed to use chokeholds during arrests if their lives are threatened. According to Boone, use of force training is mandated by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and moving forward he will only go over what a chokehold, is but not demonstrate it.

“That technique is a DCJS mandate that requires all police departments in the state to train it or at least expose their recruits to it, but we will no longer train it,” said Boone. “I can tell you from experience, from Rodney King to Ferguson to now and everything in between, there’s always changes; there will always be modifications to what we do.”

Dashiell is not done with pushing for change just yet. He said he’ll now reach out to other community members, compile a list of their main concerns and then have another meeting with the chief. Dashiell said putting what they want changed in writing first will help to move the needle forward.

“Everybody that’s out there protesting with signs, who are out there still today and tomorrow and further down the line, need to start writing how they feel,” said Dashiell. “Instead of telling us it’s going to be okay and there’s going to be a change, it needs to be a change in a written format that’s going to be passed down from generation to generation, so we know there’s nothing that will be a problem like this ever happening again.”

Chief Boone said other community members have reached out to him and he is arranging meetings with them as well.

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