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Community leaders, TPD call for end to large pop-up gatherings in Tallahassee

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 17:29:11-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — While we continue to hear about the rise in cases of COVID-19, police are calling for people to stop hanging out in large crowds.

TPD is pushing that message even harder after one of the pop-up gatherings ended with one dead.

Business owners are giving police the opportunity to break up the gatherings while community members work to find other ways to keep their neighbors busy.

"We don't have any authority there unless we have the cooperation of that business owner," said Lawrence Revell, the chief of the Tallahassee Police Department. "Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. Sometimes there's a variation on that spectrum of where that cooperation may be."

Over the weekend, in a pop-up gathering of about 300 people, someone was shot and killed.

"It was emotionally charged," Revell said. "Obviously, a shooting had just occurred, so that's obvious. Officers were dealing with a lot of that emotion. People who knew the victim and cared about him."

Yet, the police have received limited details from that night bringing to light a deeper issue in the community.

"We have got to have the relationship with our community where our community feels comfortable coming forward and sharing that information," said Revell.

Pastor Rudy Ferguson, Sr. chairs the police department's Citizens Advisory Committee. Between the adult council and the youth council, the goal is clear.

"What we want to know is how can we help you? What do you need? What do you want? We want to facilitate those responses to make sure they're happy in the community and they can go on to become positive and productive adults," Ferguson said.

Ferguson says this is work that adds to what he's been doing in the community through his church and the Frontline Project.

"What we continue to do is continue to look for more innovative ways to address issues dealing with our kids," said Ferguson. "How to find a job, given that COVID-19 has put a snap on summer jobs, we have to look within the community to help save our young people from death."

His end game is to build the next generation of community leaders.

The Citizen Advisory Committee's next meeting will address the use of force and putting the members through training.

Meanwhile, the Youth Citizens' Advisory Council is still accepting applications from teens and young adults across the city. For more information or to apply, click here.