Ministers: End code of silence

The Rev. Alvin Carlisle, third vice-president of the Minsters’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, speaks during a press conference held at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Ministers: End code of silence
June 23
07:30 2016

Faith leaders take stance against ‘no snitching’ policy in the community 

The Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV) is taking a stand against the code of silence and to  put an end to the “no snitching” policy that exists in the African- American community.

During a press conference held at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Tuesday, June 21, faith leaders met with members of the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) and other community leaders to discuss the increase in violent crimes, and to ask those in the community with any information in the homicides to come forward.

Fourteen homicides have been committed in Winston-Salem this year, compared with six at the same point last year.

“Any level of violent crime is unacceptable for any community. Furthermore, the spike in violent crime, particularly homicides in Winston-Salem in 2016 is very alarming,” said the Rev. Alvin Carlisle, MCWSV third vice-president and program committee chair.

“As concerned citizens and religious leaders, the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity embraces the reality, that the onus is upon us to respond to the recent rash of murders in our city.”

While all but two have been solved, the WSPD is still investigating and seeking witnesses in all 14 homicide cases. According to Assistant Chief Katrina Thompson, a number of people, and in some cases even family members of the victim, have knowledge of what happened, yet they are unwilling to work with police. Thompson noted that in one case, more than a dozen people witnessed the incident, yet no one is willing to cooperate.

“Our community must come together and stand against those who shatter families with senseless violence,” she said. “I can tell you with great certainty that the only way to combat this disturbing trend is community involvement.”

As she stood behind a podium surrounded by clergy, fellow officers and other stakeholders in the community, Thompson said that in contrast to the storylines portrayed on popular crime television programs, the advancement in DNA testing and the most modern of forensic evidence gathering techniques rarely solve homicide investigations.

“I can tell you from experience, the majority of homicide cases are solved because eye witnesses came forward to provide crucial information to the cases. The code of silence, or the ‘no snitching’ rule in our community serves only to empower those who commit these crimes,” Thompson said.

Thompson urged anyone with information on any of the homicides to contact the WSPD or call the Crimestoppers hotline at 336-727-2800.

For those reluctant to talk with the police or call an anonymous number, the president of the ministers’ conference, Bishop Todd Fulton, said, “Come to the ministers’ conference. We will be your voice until you find your voice.

“We want to make Winston-Salem a safe place to live, a safe place to worship and a safe place to work.” Fulton said. “We’re standing her today to say we need your help.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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