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Councilman Riddick says long-time white officers are ‘still stirring the pot of racism’

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Norfolk, Va. - Norfolk’s police chief told city councilmembers his strategy for reducing violent crime.

Councilmembers have said repeatedly there's just too much violence in the city, especially gun crimes.

The meeting was planned weeks ago, but comes during a recent rash of violence that has left one police officer dead, and three people fatally shot by police. Two of those police shootings involved officers firing upon mentally ill people armed with knives. In another instance, police shot and killed a rampaging man who murdered a teenager and a police officer.

The presentation from Chief Michael Goldsmith is in response to several councilmembers’ concerns about ongoing violence in the city.

“We need to realize every city in this region has taken extra mental health money to train officers and every time it comes up, we have a different model. Well our model is not working,” says Councilman Paul Riddick.

A review of the most recent FBI crime statistics show those concerns are backed by statistics.

According to the FBI report, Norfolk had more murders, rapes, robberies and serious assaults in 2012 than any other Hampton Roads city, even though Norfolk does not have the highest population. Those statistics are the most recent available in the FBI compilation, “Crime in the United States.” In that year, Norfolk logged more than 1,300 violent crimes, far and away more than any other regional city. Virginia Beach, a city with twice the population as Norfolk had about half as many violent crimes.

Norfolk also had more burglaries and car thefts than other cities, and was second to Virginia Beach in larcenies and arsons.

The FBI’s preliminary reports for 2013 show Norfolk’s crime trend is continuing. The preliminary 2013 numbers shows Norfolk has logged more violent crimes than any other large city in Virginia. The report details crimes for cities with populations of more than 100,000.

“We still have some of the old guard who train white officers to believe that the black community is the enemy . We still have some long-time white officers who are still stirring the pot of racism dealing with the black community, and these young white officers are buying into it. We need to look at ourselves as a city and examine to see if we're still living in the 50s and 60s, or do we truly have a professional police department. It seems like the same old issues pop up every five or six years, and that's not good. And don't think for one minute that I'm the only person in the community that's upset about this,” Riddick further explained.

Last week two officers, on separate calls, shot and killed mentally ill men.

On Wednesday 72-year-old Lawrence Faine was shot at his apartment at Calvary Towers after threatening the officer with a knife. Two days later on Friday, police shot another knife-wielding man, 35-year-old David Latham. That happened on West 30th Street.

"I think it's disappointing to the administration as well as probably the citizens at large because we have two individuals who died because our police officers did not have the training that they deserve to have," Riddick says.

Riddick isn't the only councilmember with these concerns. Councilman Andrew Protogyrou also spoke up.

"They need further training in mental health issues,” he says. “The officers are trained. They get 40 hours of service training. They need more training in sensitivity."

For the past six years Riddick says he's asked the city for funding to train police, but year after year he says the issue has been pushed aside.

He hopes last week's shootings, though tragic, are a catalyst for change.



  • Mike Atkinson

    Paul Riddick is the the one who constantly stirs the pot of racism. All while not paying taxes and throwing hams at women. Once again he opens his mouth and nothing but hatred spews from it. He is nothing but Norfolk’s version Al Sharpton. Paul needs to crawl back to his cave and stop embarrassing the city. It’s really hard to believe people vote for him, but then our coward in chief was elected twice.

  • dawnc

    Riddick is not even on point of what the police chief is talking about. We need more cops policing the city and cracking down on crime, and it doesn’t matter what color they are as long as they are competent. We could use more help with the mentally challenged, more money more beds. Paul Riddick you are the one who’s prejudice! !

  • Bryan

    When in doubt, pull the race card. When you have no answers or solutions to real problems, pull the race card. Can’t wait for this idiot to be voted out of office by the very Officers he’s criticizing and informed citizens of Norfolk. The problem is Councilman Riddick.

  • Donna M

    AGREE with all your statements. Riddick is showing his ignorance. Equip the Police to do their job and support them. They are trained in every color, to assist every color, and to protect every color from every color of danger. Support our Police!

  • Hm.

    Sounds like it goes both ways, to me. He’s making a lot of assumptions about white officers, a lot of generalizations-in short, doing the same things he accuses others of doing.

  • j sully

    as a retired white Norfolk police officer over 28 years Paul needs to shut his face by the way did you go to officer Jones funeral why not you represent the city if he was a black officer you would go shut your mouth Paul it’s time for you to retire

  • j sully

    Mr Riddick why don’t you go talk to Sergeant Cherry family from Chesapeake see what happened to him when he tried to talk to a mental person that had a knife oh by the way if you do want to go see him you have to go to do the cemetery

  • Tom

    I doubt Riddick knows the facts. He talks about whites teaching rookies racisam, yet by his picture I doubt he ever leaves his chair to check out the facts. There are 25 year veterans who have not seen a pay raise in 6 years so the department can save money, but it looks like he is enjoying his inflated salary. As noted by others, you must provide the force with the means to protect, and leave the unsupported opinions out of it

  • R Dail

    Riddick IS the problem. Black leaders need to speak up and get him removed before he gets a race riot started.

  • Gail

    This old bat has nothing else to do but continually stir the racism pot!! HE is the racist & steadily spews hate against anyone who will listen, all the while claiming EVERYONE is racist but him!!! Hate to disappoint this old bag but the police department are arresting those committing the crimes!! Doesn’t matter what race they are..if there’s a crime committed then the offender is arrested. It’s not our fault that most of the people committing the crimes are whatever race they were born!!! If he spent as much time helping the young people stay out of trouble as he did preaching how everyone hates them then the area would be a lot better!!

  • iqdou

    WTKR gave Riddick the attention he craves. Should have never aired this story. Why do police need more training in sensitivity? I don’t want police officers to be ~sensitive~ to criminal activity, behavior OR crime. Does anyone else? We need police officers who are alert and immediately responsive.

  • Freeman

    Well…I have the PERFECT solution. Next time the City of Norfolk has a mental health issue/crisis, don’t call 911 or the police, call Mr. Riddick, (with his wealth of knowledge) and his extreme concern that another black man isn’t laying in the street, and have him rush to the scene to disarm the individual (I hope it won’t make a difference if he is Barney purple or Kermit green) because THAT would DEFINATELY fall under the category of racist, and let’s see how he resolves the situation.

    Actually, did he, as a representative of the city, attend ANY of the funerals? I didn’t hear him say ONE word when the WHITE officer, WHITE young man or WHITE shooter was laying in the street. Now, I “axe” you, who is the biggest racist and stirring the pot?

  • j sully

    why is it just a black cancel people speaking up they just need to let the police do their job sure is a tragic thing that happened but the officers did the right thing you try not to talk to a person has a knife in their hand are we might be going to know the police funeral keep up the good work Norfolk’s finest

  • j.w.

    Riddick is speaking from ignorance when it comes down to the use of force and the application of when to use or not use deadly force. These officers, regardless of department, race, gender, or any other descriptor are trained to make the best judgement call based upon the information on hand at that time. In the case of the two knife wielding subjects with mental health issues, the officers more than likely saw the knife and said, “Oh hell, that knife might kill me” and took action to protect themselves. Even if they knew the subjects had a mental health issue, the fact the knife is present, meaning the wielders could use deadly force upon the officers or others and probably showed the intent to use deadly force, was what the officers focused in on. Not the fact the subjects were of one race, sexual orientation, gender, or mental stability. Riddick, stop criticizing our officers for justified actions. You, not them are bringing discredit to their profession and our city.

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