ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (WTXF) - In South Jersey, many gathered tonight for a healing service in the wake of the recent violence across the nation.
FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson reported live in Atlantic City with more on the message from Monday’s event.
"Especially with black lives and police officers we have to respect each other and we need to show empathy for each other," said Diane Jowers of Atlantic City. She joined other residents, city leaders, clergy and police who packed Second Baptist Church in Atlantic City Monday evening. They’re all trying to find peace in the midst of violence.
Clergy from all denominations offered prayer while some urged the community to take the lead in bridging the gap.
"We have law enforcement for a purpose. If we want to make a change we have to be an assisting hand in getting that change," said Imam Amin Mohammad of Masjid Mohammad of Atlantic City.
Atlantic City Police Chief Henry White admitted he has some anger over the tragedies that have happened against police but he decided to shift his remarks in a different direction.
"We need to lower the volume, lower the rhetoric, we need to find ways to work together and be more cooperative. If not we're just fueling the flames of those on the fringe," said Chief White. He says they've worked hard over recent years to reduce crime including complaints against officers. He says in 2,013 there were more than 250 internal affairs complaints against officers. That number dropped to 144 in 2,014 then to 50 in 2,015. So far this year there are only 20 complaints against officers.
City Council President Marty Small says it's a travesty what's happening around the country.
"We mourn for the police officers whose lives are lost but let's not be remised either about the lives lost unjustly and taken under the police officers watch," said Small.
Others left feeling inspired to help.
"We don't need to live in fear and where there is numbers there is strength," said Linda Lorraine Ray of Ventnor.