Group Meets With West Memphis Mayor

July 10, 2007 - Posted at 6:19 p.m. CDT

WEST MEMPHIS-"We went through item by item.  We addressed every item and progress was made," said Reverend Stephen Chitman.

His group, Concerned Pastors and Citizens of West Memphis sat behind closed doors for two long hours Tuesday afternoon, talking with the mayor about the future of the city.

"We shared with him deep concerns about where we came from, how we were doing, why people feared police abuse.  We wanted to get to the real details about how we can get our citizens to make a complaint and not feel threatened," said Chitman.

On the city's side, while he didn't say much, the mayor did have this to say.

"I'm not going to get into specifics, other than we made substantial progress and we will be changing some of our procedures," said Mayor William Johnson.

So what happned to the group's plea to have the police chief fired?

"Based on these future agreements that we have heard from the chief, if everything stays great, we believe the community will be at rest," said Chitman.

A place the chief would like to be following the shooting death of 12 year old DeAuntae Farrow by one his officers.

"We are going to look at some of the complaints and concerns they had.  They were very viable complaints and concerns.  We are going to make some changes," said Chief Robert Paudert.

It's those changes, the city of West Memphis hopes will slowly turn things around.

"What we were dealing with today was the future of our community in West Memphis.  We wanted to make it a better future," said Chitman.

At the meeting it was discussed that changes should be made to a local city ordinance to help open up communication, however, details of any immediate plans or changes were kept quiet.

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