Phoenix town hall addresses officer-involved shootings
More than 100 people attended the town hall at the Steele Indian School Park Civic Building to ask questions and listen to the panel. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Police shootings, such as the one in Ferguson, MO, in which an 18-year-old black man was killed, and one in Phoenix involving the death of a mentally ill woman, led to a town hall Sunday in Phoenix.
Mayor Greg Stanton and Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia were part of a panel that racial profiling and mental illness, among other topics.
Many people said they were struggling to understand what happened that led to the shooting death of 50-year-old Michelle Cusseaux, who was shot and killed by a Phoenix police sergeant after officers said she threatened them with a hammer in early August.
Police were trying to take Cusseaux to a psychiatric facility.
More than 100 people attended the town hall at the Steele Indian School Park Civic Building to ask questions and listen to the panel.
Garcia told the group he'd like to see all officers wearing body cameras within the next two to three years so that all encounters are recorded.
Starting in the next couple weeks, he said every officer will undergo two hours of training that's focused on mental illness.
"Emotions are a tough thing for us to deal with in law enforcement and you take the emotions of anger and sometimes mistrust and these are the things that we have to be open with that allows us to have dialogue with our community that is beneficial for law enforcement," Garcia said.
"I believe that we addressed some pertinent issues that directly affect our community and that there is room for growth," Channel Powe, governing board member of Balz School District said.
The Phoenix Police Department said it is also taking a look at every officer-involved shooting that's happened in the past five years in an effort to learn how to better handle those types of situations.
Also over the weekend, the chief announced that the Arizona Department of Public Safety and not his department, will investigate Cusseaux's death.
There have been 31 shootings involving officers of various law enforcement agencies in and around Phoenix.
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