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NAACP leader: 'We want to work with police, not abolish department' after Ahmaud Arbery shooting

John Perry II says a conversation with the Brunswick community has led them to introduce reform recommendations and not dissolve the police department.
Credit: WTLV
Ahmaud Arbery murder suspects have been formally indicted for felony murder. Arbery was shot and killed in February.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — For the past several months, the Glynn County Police Department has been under scrutiny for the way it has handled the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, but John Perry II says that department had been under the microscope before Arbery’s death.

"I think the Ahmaud Arbery incident forced us to come forth and say that nothing is going to get done if we don't actively take part in the change that needs to take place,” Perry told First Coast News.

Perry is the president of the Brunswick chapter of the NAACP.  He says the changes he'd like to see include creating police oversight committees with members of the public and working with new county commissioners to improve the relationship between police and the people.

"I am very hopeful that we will have a lot of things in place and reforms, and the community has sent a message that we are ready to be involved,” he said.

That involvement, according to Perry, includes keeping the police department intact. Perry spoke about that during a forum Monday night and says the consensus is to not eliminate the police.

In November, voters will decide if that happens. A referendum on the ballot could allow voters to dissolve county police departments and merge them with the sheriff's office.

"We wanted to have a discussion so we can empower voters so they would know how to vote when November comes,” Perry said.

Perry plans to have more discussions about the future of the Glynn County Police Department leading up to the election.

We reached out to the police department, but have not heard back.