LIMA — “Disgusted” was the word Pastor Dennis Ward used when referring to a Tuesday altercation at the Waffle House on Neubrecht Road in Lima.
Moniqua Lasenby and Nahporchia Allen were both charged with disorderly conduct by fighting and persistent disorderly conduct after their involvement. Allen County Sheriff deputies are now searching for Decorion Haneef Dawson as a person of interest as well in the altercation.
The Lima Area Black Ministerial Alliance gathered Thursday to discuss the violence.
“From a pastoral point of view and minister point of view, it really disgusted us to the point where we just saw a lot of young people coming together and fighting,” Ward said. “It really disturbed us when we saw a young man hitting a woman. That should never be.
“From a parent point of view, that really disturbed me, because if that was my child, my daughter, I don’t know how I would respond. When I look at that video too, I see a lot of anger, pent up frustration. This is not a black or white issue, this is a human issue.”
The group believes the community should come together to reach the younger generation.
“It starts at home, the training of a child, how do you treat a young lady, all of these things start at home,” Ward said. “From a community standpoint, even if this wasn’t our children, we all should be involved. Not just talk about the incident. It’s one thing to talk about it, but it’s another thing to get involved with it.”
Accountability is something that should be maintained by everyone in the community.
“This is where accountability comes in. As pastors, we’re accountable for the people that are in our pews, but also we are accountable for the things that happen within the community,” Ward said, “at the same time holding politicians accountable for making a change within the city. It’s not just from an economic basis, it’s for a humanistic angle as well.
“So again, we have people, city councilmen that’s in place, we have the mayor, we have the police chief and most of these are elected officials. When things like this happen, where are the councilmen, where is the mayor? We are all accountable. It’s a community effort,” said Ward.
There should be legal action taken due to the violence that occurred at the Waffle House.
“We do hope the disturbing violence on that video will be addressed legally. We certainly hope that is addressed in addition to what we may attempt to do,” said Pastor A.L. Butler, of Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
Ward added, “We’re not here to play judge and jury, but we’re here to charge people for their accountability.”
The group also looks at the incident as a teachable incident.
“Even though something is tragic, this is teachable and this is an opportunity,” Ward said. “I look at it from a police standpoint because they had to respond to the call. So as a police standpoint this is an opportunity because we’ve been talking about body cameras for a long time. The body cameras are not just for the safety of the officer, but it also captures things that other eyes may not see. So from the officer’s standpoint the safety and for the people they serve it gives clarity to what’s going on.
“There’s an opportunity for parents to get involved with their children. I know that some may be working or away, but we never stop being parents.”
Ward also said it’s an opportunity for Lima’s churches to step forward.
”We shouldn’t hide behind the stained glass windows. Getting kids involved, pointing them in the right direction, and so it’s really a village mentality that we’re trying to advocate, so that others, not just the church, not just the pastors, getting involved, but parents, politicians, teachers and neighbors. It’s a community issue,” said Ward. “This is an opportunity for everybody to work together in a collaborative effort.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.