Black Lives Matters calls for change to Birmingham PD's violence reduction initiative

Updated: Jan. 25, 2017 at 8:33 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A local advocacy group is calling for a change in a program the Birmingham Police Department uses to get criminals off the street.

Wednesday, residents in the Central Pratt City neighborhood and members of the Black Lives Matter organization say around noon Tuesday, the neighborhood was terrorized.

They captured pictures that show officers with guns drawn and a number of vehicles in the neighborhood.

They described one of the vehicles as a "tank."

Residents say when they asked police what was going on they were told it was all part of the Violence Reduction Initiative.

One family says officers came to their home with a search warrant, looking for the grandsons of the woman who lives there.

"When we got to the door and opened the door they put guns in our faces and told us to get on the floor," said Cynthia Smith. "And I told them my sister has had three strokes and she really couldn't get on the floor because her leg was really hurting it yesterday. Said he didn't care, get on the floor and put your hands up."

Neighborhood President Eric Hall says the way the family was unfair and that the violence reduction initiative needs to be reformed.

"Yes, we want to feel safe. We want to be protected. But we do not need this over saturation of police presence in our communities, especially at a time like this when America is trying to bridge the gaps between community and policing," he said.

Sources say the men police were looking for are accused of selling rifles and body armor piercing bullet of the home police searched.

They say it was neighbors who alerted police to this situation.

Officials in the police department and mayor's office are not commenting on the case, as it is still under investigation.

Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.