Pastor RB Holmes: “We Do Not Support Defunding or Dismantling the Police Department”

Pastor RB Holmes: “We Do Not Support Defunding or Dismantling the Police Department”

On July 9, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and the Tallahassee chapter of the National Action Network (NAN) held a “From Rhetoric to Action” symposium on race relations. RB Holmes, pastor at Bethel and president of the Tallahassee NAN chapter, spoke about “reimagining police and community relations.”

The symposium came after Tallahassee protests following the officer-involved shooting of Tony McDade as well as nationwide protests against police brutality.

Holmes voiced strong opposition to defunding or dismantling the police department, stating that the National Action Network and a coalition of community pastors do not endorse defunding the police. Defunding the police has been a nationwide debate throughout Black Lives Matter protests.

“We do not support defunding or dismantling the police department,” he said. “That is moral and psychological suicide.”

He also pushed back against calls to remove Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell, who has been police chief since January 2020. Protestors have called for his resignation in the wake of three fatal officer-involved shootings under his leadership.

“We have not at this point asked for the resignation of the police chief or that the sheriff be dethroned,” Holmes said. “That is our official position. We will not ask for resignation of the police chief. We will not ask for the sheriff to be dethroned.”

“I am stating this with great power and great passion,” he said. “We will work through our challenges. We will strengthen police, law enforcement, and community relations. We will improve and increase police transparency and openness. We will create more programs for disadvantaged neighborhoods to help us bolster police and citizen respect and honor. We will teach our young people to respect police officers and vice versa.”

He also said Black-on-Black crime must be addressed.

“We must speak strongly and boldly against Black-on-Black crime,” he said. “We cannot continue to overlook what’s happening in our communities on a consistent basis. That’s our responsibility as community leaders. We do not condone police misconduct, and we cannot condone Black-on-Black crime.”

Following Holmes remarks, the symposium shifted to discussions on other issues affecting Black communities, including finances, healthcare, and voting.

Sheriff Walt McNeil was also present at the symposium as a panelist. He echoed Holmes’ remarks on Black-on-Black crime. He also asserted that people need to reevaluate the role of the police.

“We try to step into the gap of dealing with all of the issues, and disproportionately we respond to the African-American community,” he said.

“One of the things I hope we can do is start to re-look at what is the role of police in our community,” McNeil said. “We can’t be everything to everybody.”

“I want to go from rhetoric to action,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we take some action here this morning and we walk away trying to make a change in our community.”

Last month, McNeil also defended local law enforcement.

He said he did not believe that white law enforcement officers in Leon County target Black citizens for brutality.

“The fact of the matter is when you get bad cops, they come in all races and colors and genders,” McNeil said. “It’s the individual; it’s not any group.”

McNeil said he hopes the community will keep moving forward with a dialogue on how it is policed.

9 Responses to "Pastor RB Holmes: “We Do Not Support Defunding or Dismantling the Police Department”"

  1. Two questions: 1. Rev. Holmes has been in a position of leadership for decades. What specifically has he done to “effectively” address crime, poverty, education and systemic racism in Tallahassee? Please no “rhetoric”, just measurable results. 2. Why do people like Rev. Holmes continue to refer to crime in Black communities as “black on black crime”? According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the vast majority of most crimes are committed by a person of the same race as the victim. Given his logic, white on white crime is a problem.

  2. A verbal pushback on the leftist narrative from Rev. RBH, this early prior to election day, explained for those amongst us that need it:

    “Mayor Flintstone, Curtis, and the rest of you have failed up to this point to provide the type of bribery…ahem…I mean unfettered donations to us local Rev’s to allow us to guide our flocks to voting in the leftist way.”
    “It’s on you now. If you want the local Rev’s to deliver the vote you gotta cough up some major donations pretty quickly with no oversight on how us Rev’s want to spend it”.

  3. “We have not at this point asked for the resignation of the police chief or that the sheriff be dethroned,” Holmes said.

    We have not “at this point”…

    That is a veiled threat, and I’m sure the message was received. Holding a “race relations symposium” that excludes all but one race, is not a gathering that portends an earnest discussion on any possible solutions to any racial challenge, perceived or otherwise. Furthermore, to exclude from the “symposium” all those who seek to hold a position of leadership that may impact the success of any proposed plan, is disingenuous in its professed goal of unity and open mindedness in search of a solution.

    This event simply declares that a side has been chosen, without an earnest and open consideration of, or deliberation on, any and all possible ideas to address the perceived challenge. This gathering is the complete antithesis of its stated goal, and thus exposes its true purpose… politics over people… campaign presence over community partnerships… partisanship over fellowship.

  4. I am 100% sure Pastor Holmes is not voting for the ONLY Candidate having this view for years. I wonder when our City Leaders will address this City’s out of control crime problem. They are too busy editing City Rewind videos of the latest Top 10 list we made. It is time to elect City Commissioners who will support law enforcement, and will make Public Safety our #1 priority. There is only one willing to say those things out loud. Support him at

    1. WTXL is inappropriately giving and possibly illegally giving Curtis Richardson PR through a puff piece where he is associating with a tech person. Another case of Curtis manipulating a black reporter into a PR puff piece and the editor asleep at the wheel.

      The tech person has five Better Business Bureau complaints against him.

      Curtis gets bundled contributions from developers and then votes favourably for the developer’s huge environmentally unsound project.

      Curtis lied about receiving bundled contributions and refused to answer questions about it.

      Curtis wants to preserve the Black Culture which is tearing down Tallahassee. Curtis does this for selfish reasons because he gains from this financially at the expense of black citizens..

      Curtis is a black lives matter instigator and these recent deaths are on his watch. Perhaps if he had not decided to paint graffiti in intersections some black citizens would be alive today.

      Curtis needs to take responsibility for this recent unrest.

      Voters have a choice.

      Vote Bill Schack!

  5. Denounce Black Lives Matter!

    Proclaim Jesus matters!

    Is this a PR event for Sheriff McNeil facilitated by RB Holmes?

    Sheriff McNeil is paying our tax dollars to his campaign manager Sean Pittman instead of attending to business. This is a blatant misuse of office and this shows what is important and not important to Sheriff McNeil.

    Why wasn’t candidate for Sheriff Tommy Mills included in this?

    Vote Schack, Jack, and Tommy Mills!

    1. If the rev’runt is using “dethrone” when talking about Sheriff McNeil, that must make Sean Pittman the court jester.

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