Black Lives Matter 757 supporters address Virginia Beach City Council regarding review board, public comments

Posted at 11:29 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 23:39:40-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Supporters of Black Lives Matter 757 say their voices need to be heard on the street and inside City Hall.

“This is Virginia Beach’s city, and it belongs to the people,” said Virginia Beach resident Matthew McGill.

He and others want to see change in how the police department handles investigations.

McGill believes a citizen review board is necessary.

“The police can’t police themselves; we need citizens to help hold them accountable. We see time and time again that they are not held accountable,” he adds.

Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten says Virginia Beach City Council is currently discussing the idea of a citizen review board.

“We are at the stage of doing the research, requesting research. What does a citizen review board look like for Virginia Beach and its citizens?” she adds.

At a city council workshop on Tuesday, the investigation review panel was on the agenda.

Leaders are also considering expanding the number of people on their current board.

Black Lives Matter 757 also wants city council to start recording their “open mic” section when the speakers discuss non-agenda items.

Wooten says that section isn’t recorded to protect the community. Some speakers are victims of various crimes.

“To make sure we adhere to privacy, we don’t video anyone,” she adds.

Some people want that to change.

Related: 'Police need oversight, not advisory': Portsmouth NAACP opposes department's community committee

“Having it recorded and having it available to the public makes it something that people can hear. [It] can make a difference even if it doesn’t affect the individual city council members,” McGill adds.

Organizers say until they see action, they will be at every meeting. McGill says, “Black, white, brown, blue, green and orange - it doesn’t matter. We are all in this fight together.”

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