PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Peekskill Councilman Darren Rigger made sure his voice was heard at Grand Central Terminal this past weekend.
Rigger joined those protesting recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in Staten Island, both of whom were unarmed.
"It was important for me to let the activists know that they are not alone," Rigger said. "All these young folks marching are the future Martin Luther Kings and John Lewises of tomorrow. They need to know that we support them."
The councilman said he was shocked by the grand jury decisions.
"Unfortunately, the system discriminates against poor people," Rigger said. "And if you're black or brown, it's worse."
The protests have been peaceful and positive, Rigger said.
"We've been encircled by people filming and taking photos to post them on social media," Rigger said. "It's really interesting to watch."
In Peekskill, crime has dropped more than 50 percent, Rigger said, owing much of that to community policing programs expended by Chief Eric Johansen.
"It's why probably why we have less problems than other communities," Rigger said. "Like every community, Peekskill has to remain vigilant."
Community policing has involved officers attending community meetings to make themselves available to the public.
"You're interaction with the police doesn't have to be a contentious one," Rigger said. "Chief Johansen has been doing a great job and we expect it to continue.
Rigger also said police officers are being encouraged to learn Spanish to help them overcome possible language barriers with Peekskill residents.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.