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Flint pastors ask for God's and the governor's help with their city's crime problem

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some pastors in Flint say Governor Snyder needs to be more involved in solving their city’s violent crime problem.

The pastors prayed for “a healing in our land” at the beginning of news conference at Flint’s Mt. Carmel Baptist Church this morning.

But the pastors say more than prayers are needed to fix the city’s crime problem.

This week Flint recorded its 38th homicide of the year.   

“I’ve been to too many funerals. I’ve done too many funerals,” lamented Reverend Ira Edwards, the pastor of Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church.

The state has sent dozens of state troopers to help Flint’s depleted city police force.

But Reverend LaTrelle Holmes says that has created a “militaristic” community, which has included several fatal shootings involving state police troopers.

“We do not want them to go.  We acknowledge that the resources are limited here.  And we need that partnership…but we need it to be a real partnership,” says Holmes.

The pastors hope to hold a community meeting with the state police later this month to address the community’s concerns. 

The pastors also criticized the way Flint’s emergency manager has handled the city’s public safety issues, accusing EM Mike Brown of not communicating with the Flint’s residents.

Brown issued a statement saying:

“We have a comprehensive public safety plan that is being implemented and assessed on an ongoing basis to identify any needed modification.   Throughout the process of developing and implementing our plan, we have spoken to community leaders and groups to discuss the work being done and will continue to do so.”

Flint’s pastors say they want the state to commit three million dollars to support programs (Ceasefire and LifeLines) that try to redirect young people away from crime in Flint and other Michigan cities.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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