Metro Atlanta leaders to visit riot-torn Ferguson - CBS46 News

Metro Atlanta leaders to visit riot-torn Ferguson

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Several metro Atlanta leaders will travel to Ferguson, MO to see if they can ease tensions in the city that has been rocked by violence for several days.

The violence erupted after a Ferguson police officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. Police said Brown had an altercation with the officer before the officer fired.

Click here for complete coverage on the Fury in Ferguson.

DeKalb County's director of public safety will meet with police and protestors this weekend. Cedric Alexander is also the head of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).

"I think in all fairness to the victim and in all fairness to the police department and that community at large, we have to wait and see what the investigation reveals," Alexander told CBS46 News on Thursday.

Alexander said he will talk to Ferguson's police chief about diversifying his force. The city is nearly 70 percent black but only three officers on the 55-man force are black.

"It's always going to be a perception of race, and race does matter," said Alexander, though he cautioned that it is not the only factor sparking the recent violence.

The director of Save OurSelves (SOS), a group that focuses on community issues, agrees race issues must be resolved in Ferguson.

"We want peace and when I have that conversation with the protestors, in that same breath, I'll be speaking to the local police department and the riot squad that has been called in as well," said Marcus Coleman. "It's not a one-way conversation."

Alexander said it will take time for the two sides to resolve their issues.

"At the end of the day, this community and this police department is going to have to find a way to come together," said Alexander.

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