Mayor Calls on African American Leadership to Challenge Crime

Mayor Otis Johnson
Mayor Otis Johnson

Savannah mayor Otis Johnson is outraged at the recent wave of crime in the city. He's calling on leaders in the African American community to help solve the problem. He wants people to speak out about the problem whether it's parents, ministers or witnesses to crime.

He says it is out of control and the police need the community's help.

Mayor Johnson started his news conference at city hall by saying, "Some of the things I am going to say may not be totally endorsed by council."

After two weeks of seeing crimes such as drive-by and other shootings, a toddler being tossed out of a car, and violence in the schools, he has had enough. "I am simply not going to be quiet or polite about it."

He says the police can't do it all. "I am singling out the African American community, cause that is where the victims are and where the perpetrators are and they pose eminent danger to the safety and welfare of this community."

And he specifically targeted African American leaders to come forward with suggestions instead of sitting quietly.

"I don't know whether over the years leaders in the African American community have become anesthetized by constant rate of violence, but I haven't heard any indignation coming from major leadership and I wonder why," the mayor said.

Other council members agreed with the mayor's call for action. "Mr. Mayor, this is a war in a sense, it is a war that we must win," said alderman-at-large Edna Jackson.

The mayor challenged the African American leaders and everyone in the community regardless of race to come to the next town hall meeting to talk about this problem.

The meeting is on Wednesday the 13th at 7pm at the Civic Center. The main topics will be the recent rash of violence in the schools and on the streets.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com