UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KPLR) –Clergy leaders prayed outside three police departments Friday night calling for an end to violence. The vigils were organized by the clergy caucus of Metropolitan Congregations United, an interfaith community organization.
In St. Louis city ministers spoke about the shooting injury to Brandon Claxton who was recently shot by a police officer who saw a gun in the teen’s hand.
In University City pastors called on that police department to update its community policing and diversity training so it can become an accredited department.
Pastor Dietra Wise Baker of Liberation Christian Church in University City said even though the department’s statistics on traffic stops were better than many other towns “It wasn’t perfect.”
“They still showed some racial bias so we wanted to address that by coming out here tonight,” she explained.
Pastor Karen Anderson of Ward AME Church in Florissant joined the others who stood on Delmar praying as commuters headed home.
“Our voices will not be silent, oh God, anymore until we move to a beloved community where everybody is valued,” she promised.
The University Police Department did not offer any response to the criticism. Pastor Wise Baker said she had spoken to the chief previously.
“He wasn’t ready to commit to us; he wasn’t ready to say ‘hey we’ll listen to having a civilian review board.’” she said.
A similar vigil was also held outside the Chesterfield police department.