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Richmond officers and city leaders get an earful at community meeting

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RICHMOND, Va. -- After several high-profile cases, including the shooting death of unarmed Missouri teen Michael Brown, there were several marches and peaceful rallies held in Richmond. Public discussion continued on Tuesday night, at the Richmond Police Academy.

"This is a police training camp, which already discourages people to come here," one attendee said.

Still Richmonders young and old did come by the dozens, giving officers and other city leaders an earful.

"When we talk about this we need to stop being myopic about it," the attendee added.

The meeting was requested after several recent protests in the city connected to the national "Black Lives Matter" movement.

"Right now I'm not getting a sense that everybody is up in arms about police brutality," a life-long Richmond resident said.

But an issue that did evoke passion, centered around race.

"If you're more comfortable talking to a black female officer that's perfectly fine," a Richmond Police officer said. "Let me know."

"And I can't say 'Hey, I want a black woman to come arrest me,'" another attendee said.

However some believe the city issues discussed go far beyond race relations.

"It's not just a black issue, it's a human issue," another Richmonder said.

"It is time to move on," Virginia Union University Senior Olivia Cameron said. "It's different now."

Despite the meeting being open to the pubic, those overseeing the event put in place guidelines for the media. Richmond's new Chief of Police Alfred Durham said he plans to address those restrictions.

"It's a learning curve," Chief Durham said. "I'm a new chief so next time I believe the media are very important because I need the media to get my message out also."

More meetings similar to the one Tuesday evening are set to take place throughout the year, involving police and the community.

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