LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) — Dozens of family members came out to the Little Rock City Board of Director’s meeting Tuesday night to express concern that there was nothing on the city board agenda that addressed the recent violent crimes.
Many families expressed their support of Director Doris Wright’s proposal of a youth intervention program that would hopefully prevent other families from getting that devastating call of a loved one’s death.
“The nurse that they sent out to talk to us said that he was shot straight through the heart and he was dead before he had hit the ground,” Barbara Robinson said. Robinson’s grandson was dropped off at a hospital last week after he died. That man was 28-year-old Dominic Tillman. He leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter.
“I feel like I am broken. I never thought that I would bury him,” Robinson said.
Robinson and her brother, Sammie Robinson, went to the meeting to plead for change after a recent uptick in homicides.
“This is not a coincidence that everybody that came in about gun violence was African-American people. This is not a coincidence. This is by design,” Sammie Robinson said.
Director of the Derek Olivier Research Institute for the Prevention of Violence, Edmond W. Davis, said that Little Rock’s homicide rate is 60 percent higher in 2021 than it was at this time in 2020.
“He wasn’t just a number. He was a human being. He was my child,” Yolanda Harrison said about her son Devan Sprawling who was killed by a gunshot wound in 2018.
Harrison is concerned prosecutors will be backed up with cases after taking a recess for part of last year due to COVID-19.
“ll these cases are building up with these prosecutors, my son still hasn’t even had a trial,” Harrison said. “My concern is he going to get a fair trial? Is he going to have justice?”
Besides bringing their loved ones back, these families say they want to change.
“I think our city needs to be more proactive than reactive,” Sammie Robinson said.
Some of the families suggested a more engaging approach by police, where officers knock on the homes of the houses they patrol and introduce themselves. Some suggested police use bicycles or motorcycles. Others said there needed to be job security for the youth who don’t finish their high school education.
Director Wright requested to put the youth intervention program on the agenda for the next board meeting.