The first Sunday service was held since nine people were shot and killed during a bible study at a historic African-American church in South Carolina on Wednesday.
In Phoenix, precautions were taken as hundreds gathered for their Sunday service.
“What happened in Charleston will not and cannot be allowed to happen again,” said Reverend Jarrett Maupin. He partnered up with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to make it possible.
1,000 deputies were called out to increase patrols around African-American churches in Phoenix.
“The people I have talked to today are very comfortable with it. I don’t think they are irritated with it, it’s not an occupying presence,” said Maupin.
“No, it’s not necessary” said a resident.
But, not all churchgoers wanted the protection, including members at historic Tanner Chapel downtown.
“Something can happen anywhere across this country when you’re in a car or plane, so you can’t live by fear,” said Petra Falcon.
Like many others we spoke with, Falcon says she would rather see people coming together in prayer rather than having law enforcement at the forefront.
“It’s a publicity stunt, it’s opportunistic that’s what’s happening,” said Falcon.
But, Rev. Maupin doesn’t see it that way.
“Better safe than sorry and it’s good for law enforcement to be seen with doing something positive with african americans. It’s been a hell of a year and a spring, so for us to come together now and for them to say we value you, we recognize your civil rights and religious rights, it’s a watershed moment,” said Maupin.
The churches will be monitored again next Sunday, after that it will be at the request of each church.
Other cities like New York, Alabama and Los Angeles also had extra law enforcement patrolling the area surrounding African-American churches.
SOURCE: Courtney Griffin
FOX 10 News