Connecticut Church Leaders Demand Police Reforms After Shooting of 15-Year-Old Jayson Negron

The Rev. Teddy Hickman-Maynard of Bethel AME Church, center, and Jayson Negron's half-sister Jazmarie Melendez, right, listens to The Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard of Bethel AME Church speaks to others gathered at the site of Negron's shooting on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, Conn. CONECT clergy and lay leaders called for a more public investigation during a press conference on Friday, June 2, 2017. (Photo: Cathy Zuraw / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post)
The Rev. Teddy Hickman-Maynard of Bethel AME Church, center, and Jayson Negron’s half-sister Jazmarie Melendez, right, listens to The Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard of Bethel AME Church speaks to others gathered at the site of Negron’s shooting on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, Conn. CONECT clergy and lay leaders called for a more public investigation during a press conference on Friday, June 2, 2017. (Photo: Cathy Zuraw / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post)

Church leaders called Friday for better police training and other measures in Connecticut’s largest city after the shooting death of an unarmed teenager by a police officer.

Gathering at the Bridgeport site of 15-year-old Jayson Negron’s death, religious leaders called for police training on avoiding deadly force and for police to start wearing body cameras, the Connecticut Post reported (http://bit.ly/2sxXnrJ ).

“They are not trained in making peace without the threat of more violence,” the Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard, of Bethel AME Church, said. “(They) are woefully unprepared to meet the challenges of protecting, servicing and making peace.”

Police Chief Armando Perez says rookie officer James Boulay opened fire May 9 when he was nearly run over by a stolen car driven by Negron. Twenty-one-year-old Julian Fyffe also was injured.

Mayor Joe Ganim and Perez’s offices referred questions about the encounter to state police. State police said they won’t comment until the probe into the shooting is completed.

Negron and Fyffe’s family dispute the police version of events and say deadly force wasn’t necessary. Fyffe has said he and Negron were left bleeding on the street for nearly 20 minutes before they received medical attention, even though police are trained in basic emergency medical care.

Church leaders also called for weekly updates on the investigation. They said community members were frustrated that authorities weren’t releasing more information, including the names of other officers involved, the autopsy report on Negron and whether the shooting was recorded by a nearby drug store’s security cameras.

“Only transparent and timely investigation of this shooting will build the confidence needed,” said the Rev. Anthony Bennett, of Mount Aery Baptist Church.

The pastors said they want to meet with the mayor and police chief by the end of June.

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Information from: Connecticut Post, http://www.connpost.com

SOURCE: AP