• 48°

Discussion connects police with formerly incarcerated men

By Liz Moomey
liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Dora Mbuwayesango, the organizer, introduced DaQuan Coleman as the poster child of Operation Clean Slate at Police-Citizens Interactions: Rights & Responsibilities at Livingstone College on Saturday afternoon.

Coleman shared his story of growing up in poverty and in a single-parent household. He soon became part of a gang, wanting to fit in.

“We didn’t have too many ways to show our masculinity, except for with violence,” Coleman said.

Eventually his crimes caught up to him and he was jailed numerous times. He was in jail when his little brother died and as his mother struggled with the loss of her son as well as when his son was born. 

The birth of his son transformed his life, Coleman said. Despite others thinking he would return to crime, he went on to get his GED and has started classes at Livingstone College last week.

“My story, my mission is ‘don’t buy into image they’re selling you,’” Coleman said. “Buy into the image that’s in your heart. Buy into the image that has been in you since birth. Buy into the image that your family wants to see, that your community wants to see.”

Salahudeen Abdallah and Omari Holmes spoke about their time incarcerated as well.

Abdallah said he began “hustling” when he was 11 and spent his 20s locked up in state and federal prison. He said he never had anyone keep him accountable.

Abdallah’s advice to the crowd of Livingstone College students and other community activists was to give kids a chance to make money — washing a car or mowing a lawn — because it prevents them from committing crimes trying to get some income.

Holmes said he was a good student, but he made a mistake and spent ages 18 to 29 in jail for an armed robbery.

He said serving time helped mold him, but it doesn’t hold him back. He commended the resources in the city that allowed him to become a member of society and recommended that others help those who were formerly incarcerated.

“We do have to help one another,” Holmes said. “We are not bad individuals.”

Salisbury’s Deputy Police Chief Shon Barnes said he was not a good child either, often getting in trouble, but he had male family members that kept him in line.

He shared how he got to be a police officer and things he learned about implicit bias and racial profiling. Barnes spoke about Salisbury’s focus on community policing. Barnes said community policing is not a skill that is obtained.

“Police don’t solve crime,” Barnes said. “Without the community, you are nothing.”

He admitted the police aren’t always right, but when community policing is in place, it’s easier to be honest and admit mistakes.

He said, no matter what, the police and citizens are going to exist.

“Community isn’t going anywhere,” Barnes said. “Police aren’t going anywhere.”

Barnes commended Salisbury for its decrease in crime. Asking the attendees to guess how many homicides there have been in the last year. Ten? Five? Barnes said “one.”

He said it is because Salisbury citizens are looking out for one another.

One is too many still, he said, but he’s concentrating on going from good to great with the Salisbury Police Department.

Coleman gave a final piece of advice directed to his fellow students: Don’t have open bottles of liquor. Do not have paraphernalia in your car. It will give the police probable cause to search a car, he said.

“Do not get put in the system,” Coleman said. “It’s hard to get out.” 

Comments

News

Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department

Nation/World

US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

Elections

City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections

Business

‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan

Enochville

Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID