New Orleans pastor carjacked in front of his home pushing for change
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Pastor Joseph Dyson believes being a man of God helped when gunmen carjacked him in front of his own home.
“There was an individual who knocked on the passenger side door, and as I turned slowly, I noticed that the individual had a 9mm pointed at me,” says Dr. Dyson.
Pastor Dyson knew immediately, he’d become a victim. Then, another gunman popped up.
“When I looked over my left shoulder, there was an assault rifle pointed at me, and at that particular point, I backed out of the vehicle,” says Dr. Dyson.
The pastor says he showed no aggression.
“There was a third individual, and so at that point, I just followed their instructions and really put my trust in God’s hands,” says Dr. Dyson.
Three armed men held him up and stole his car.
“The rest of that story, of that narrative, is what you see today. I’m here to tell the story,” says Dr. Dyson.
Life, Dyson says, must go on. The pastor’s chosen to live it with purpose, knowing he isn’t alone.
“Every neighborhood is affected. What happened to me is no different than what has happened to many of our citizens; to return to their homes only to find people forcing them out of their vehicles with lethal weapons, such as 9mm and assault weapons,” says Dr. Dyson.
Throughout New Orleans, many are living in fear.
“I think people want to help, but they are afraid to open the door to help somebody. That’s how bad it is,” says a woman who does not want to be identified.
Carjacking victims are attacked. Some are even shot when they resist. The crimes are happening anytime, anywhere. Even the police chief and district attorney are worried.
“It’s not comfortable. I’m sure you can see the black rings under my eyes because I’m trying to figure out what we can do to make our city safer,” says Supt. Shaun Ferguson.
“If my mother or wife or anybody in my family is out late, I’m nervous about what could happen. I am as fed up as everybody is in this community,” says D.A. Jason Williams.
Both leaders have their own reasons about why they believe the crime is out of control and both say they’re working to attack the problem.
“It’s time to get serious, Natasha. People are dying in this city. Women are dying in this city. Children are dying in this city,” says Ameer Baraka.
Formally incarcerated and now actor and mentor, Ameer Baraka believes change must come now.
“Crime is at an all-time high. Foolishness is at an all-time high. Two hundred and twenty murders last year. I don’t understand that,” says Baraka.
He believes the change starts with city leadership, backed with programs in and out of the jail system.
“If you’re out here and you’re killing people and carjacking, I want to place you in jail. I want to place you in jail for about two to three years. I want to help you get some skills. I want to detox you from all the drugs and then you can come back out and be a productive citizen,” says Baraka.
The public outcry comes from every level.
Dyson, along with Councilman Freddie King, hope to find a solution to bring peace to the community.
“Instead of preparing people for fear, preparing people for carjacking, let’s do something to work with these young people,” says Dr. Dyson.
He says the faith-based community and City Hall must be involved, but he believes it’ll take much more.
“It’s more with the community at large, parents, community programs,” says Dr. Dyson.
“We want to put as many resources as we can together to help our young people. We need to find what children need to get over this crime hump,” says Councilman King.
The New Orleans City Council has been addressing the skyrocketing crime, but Pastor Dyson and Ameer Baraka believe every entity of the criminal justice system must be in sync, and community members, involved.
“It’s going to take us collectively. We have to be on one accord,” says Baraka.
“We can come together, sit down and put a task force together. We need to come up with some real solutions. We need to make sure that there’s no one size fits all and get out there and really try to understand what we are not doing that we can do to help these young people,” says Dr. Dyson.
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