'We are occupying until we see what’s going on': Sit-in at Norfolk City Hall demands release of police use-of-force reports

Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone.jpg
Posted at 1:52 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 07:38:35-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Dozens of people are currently occupying the lawn in front of City Hall off St. Paul's Boulevard.

The group of local activists are demanding the Norfolk Police Department to release its "use-of-force" reports.

“If they [officers] aren’t being held accountable and they are still out on the street, that's a problem a problem for everyone," said Kitty Winter.

A problem that people on the lawn say is an ongoing issue with police officers.

“I grew up with them harassing my friends. I grew up with them harassing me unfairly, and I grew up not to trust them," said one of the organizers.

News 3 talked to Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone about the group's request for the use-of-force reports. Chief Boone says state law doesn't require him to make that information public.

"Legislation that precluded officers or police departments releasing that info due to officers being threatened," he adds.

Boone says Norfolk isn't the only department that doesn't share the reports.

"The Norfolk Police Department as well as the city took the position to protect that information, just like other departments throughout the state," said Boone.

Protesters say having the information available is the transparency the community needs.

“If we see that an officer is more likely then the next to pull his firearm out of his holster, then you start asking more questions," said Tyler Woodard.

Boone says protecting his officers are the community is a priority.

“It’s not an overnight fix; we want it done right and based on science and not emotion.”

People say they plan to occupy the space until they are kicked off the property, or when the police department releases the reports.

“You got to do what you got to do. In the end we need reform, and we don't have the info that we need," adds Winter.

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