The U.S. Attorney General made a stop in Richmond on Friday to applaud the police department’s work in decreasing the city’s crime rate.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke with local leaders at a round table discussion near City Hall.
Before the meeting, Lynch talked about the importance of officers getting to know their community. She said it’s being done in Richmond and she hopes that others can follow the department’s lead.
“In what I have seen across the country, it's when all of those groups come together to breakdown old barriers and create a new direction,” Lynch said. “Change is not only possible, but it happens. And I think Richmond is an example.”
The Attorney General applauded Richmond’s use of so-called community policing. For the past several years, officers worked closely with residents, businesses and community organizations to identify and resolve issues as a preventative measure.
But protesters outside the meeting voiced concerns over the death of Richard Pedie Perez. Perez, an unarmed man, was killed by a Richmond Police officer last year. Police stopped Perez who was intoxicated near a liquor store. Police said he got physical with the officer which led to his death.
The county DA called it a "justifiable homicide" and an appeal was denied.
His mother, Julie Perez, said community policing couldn't save her son.
Perez said, "How good is any of that if there's other things that are ignored and buried?"
Perez’s family wants the Lynch to reopen the case.
Lynch's visit was a part of a six-city tour across country, highlighting community policing. Richmond was her last stop.