Bridgeport religious leaders condemn stop-and-frisk proposal

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Bridgeport religious leaders held a press conference Saturday to condemn the idea of using stop-and-frisk as a way to combat violent crime after a 12-year-old boy was fatally shot.

Local pastors gathered at Summerfield United Methodist Church to voice their opposition to the proposal.

Pastors Herron Gaston and Charlie Stallworth say they condemn the idea floated by City Councilman Ernie Newton in response to the fatal shooting of Clinton Howell this week.

Howell was fatally shot earlier this week, only a few feet from greeting his mother at his home.

Stop-and-frisk involves the detaining, questioning and searching of civilians for weapons and other contraband.

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Newton tells News 12 that he now withdraws the statement and says there are better alternatives he will soon be announcing.

Gaston says the focus now needs to be practical solutions, starting with a citizen's review committee he plans to form.

"What is truly needed in this community is a strong investment in educational initiatives, after-school programs, mentoring programs, more funding put into mental health services, working within our school systems to bring in more counselors to help our students and to create opportunity and access for jobs," he says.

Newton says he's willing to work with the pastors to find a solution for the violence.

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