Concerned religious leaders gather in Evansville saying it's time for change, it's time for the community to come together. It all stems after the recent incident involving an Evansville firefighter and the Evansville Police Department. The Concerned Clergy of Evansville gathered at the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church behind closed doors.
The clergy, a newly established group of Evansville religious leaders, is the same group that organized the local 'March of Justice' in honor of Trayvon Martin, just a few weeks ago. Now, they find themselves meeting again, with the same motives, and same concerns. It's the second time in just a matter of weeks they have felt the urgent need to organize. "There's a lot of work to be done," says Pastor Rabon Turner. The Concerned Clergy of Evansville, a newly founded group of religious leaders, meet in light of recent events regarding their community and Evansville officials. "This is bigger than Reverend George Madison, this is bigger than any individual that has had these kinds of issues in the past," says Pastor Turner. As news of the George Madison incident spreads nation wide, people from this meeting say there's another story right here at home, with a change needing to occur. "There's something in the air in Evansville and i'm concerned about it," says Dennis Ward. Ward says he respects Reverend Madison and was unhappy with what he saw on the video that triggered Madison's formal complaint against an Evansville Police Officer.
"Everybody wants to be respected, that's just a part of life," says Bridgett Tate. She felt passionately about hearing the Clergy's plan for change. "It's not just what has been happening lately. It has been going on over a period of time. All things come to a head, and that's what this seems to be," says Tate. Organizers refer to the meeting as a 'planning session' as they presented five main concerns they hope to bring in front of the Evansville City Council. "One of which is police relations with members of our community, and also the seemingly rise of harassment and what we plan to do about that," says Pastor Turner. "They're all doing their best to get together as one, and go to the mayor formally, not just do things informally, or do things just out of anger."
The Clergy says their Executive Council met with the Evansville Mayor and Police Chief last Wednesday, and that's what drew these concerns for the group. Evansville Police internal affairs investigated the incident between George Madison and Officer Jasen Clegg, but did not find that any department policies were violated. The Clergy will be voicing their proposal Monday night at the City Council meeting.