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Richmond police officers and community leaders react after viral police shootings

Posted at 8:29 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 20:31:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond police officers and community leaders are speaking out after two black men were shot to death at the hand of police officers this week.

The first shooting took place Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old man, was shot to death as he laid on the ground with two police officers on top of him. A video of the incident, which was posted to social media, has sparked national outrage.

Left to right: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile

Left to right: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile

The second incident took place Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

Philando Castile, 32, a kitchen supervisor for the St. Paul School District, was shot and killed after a traffic stop. The immediate aftermath was recorded on Facebook live by a woman in the car.

In the Facebook video, the woman identified the woman as Diamond Reynolds said that Castile is licensed to carry a firearm. She claims that before the shooting, her boyfriend was trying to get his ID from his wallet in his back pocket.

While an investigation is underway in the respective cities, Thursday Richmond police demonstrated exactly what you should do, when you are pulled over.

"If you keep your hands on the steering at all times. That's what we tell folks…. then the odds of a miscommunication between you and the police are very slim," said Captain Harvey Powers.

Captain Harvey Powers

Captain Harvey Powers

Captain Harvey Powers said they constantly train because every situation is different.

Officers allowed CBS 6 cameras in their training center to take us through two traffic stop scenarios.

First, showing a cooperative driver versus a hostile situation.

Captain Powers said - if you have a firearm in the car - let the officer know.

"I am a concealed weapons permit holder. I currently have it with me, it's in the glovebox, under the seat, wherever.  And then, let the officer say, hey, I need you to step out of the car," said Captain Powers.

Captain Powers said they put more than 1200 people through those scenarios.

"We constantly trying to make that outreach in the community to say, ‘hey, these are some of the possible outcomes that may happen.’ What can we do to help mitigate any of these problems?" he asked.

Richmond police advise the public to be complaint and follow directions during a traffic stop and try not to be nervous and don't overreact in the situation.

You can pick up a brochure at your local police precinct giving you details on what you should do if you're stopped by the police.

Richmond protests 

VUU protestThe recent shootings prompted a group of Virginia Union University students to protest throughout the city Thursday afternoon.

Charles Willis with United Community against crime is asking young people to remain peaceful after the graphic images from the shootings were released on social media.

"I think it puts them in the situation they have to fear for their life," said Charles Willis, Executive Director, United Communities Against Crime.

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