Activists meet with City of Phoenix leaders

- In the wake of two deadly police-involved shootings protests have broken out, and some have reacted violently assaulting or killing police officers nationwide.

Now there are nationwide calls for change but by peaceful and nonviolent means.

A meeting locally was held between the local "Black Lives Matter" group and Phoenix Police and city leaders.

The meeting was held at a downtown Phoenix church and was called "Moving Phoenix Forward."

"At some point in time we have to come together and start working on solutions," said Rev. Reginald Walton.

And that is exactly what Walton did Monday evening, holding a town hall filled with members of the community and officials.

"I want to lead the best city I can, I want to be the mayor of the city with the best police department in the country, and the one thing that I've learned is to listen to the people. Listen to their ideas with an open heart and an open mind," said Mayor Greg Stanton.

Those in attendance wrote down questions which were answered by the panel members. The majority centered around how the Phoenix Police Department can ensure transparency in policing, ending discrimination, and the de-escalation of tense situations.

Mayor Stanton and Assistant Police Chief Mike Kurtenbach said the officers in Phoenix already go through strict and rigorous training, but communication is key.

"The only way we can address issues is if we're made aware of them. So if there is a belief that officers are policing in an unjust manner, we need to be aware of that," said Assistant Chief Kurtenbach.

Kurtenbach also told the group the department doesn't villainize the BLM movement, but rather sees them as a police ally.

"Clearly, the Phoenix Police Department does not view the Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization. We view them as a partner that holds us accountable. Everybody, if we're going, to be honest and want to be held accountable. Maybe if you heard the news that if we do something wrong, tell us. If there is something we can do better, tell us. Please tell us. But if we also do it right, tell us," said Kurtenbach.

A big theme was communication between the police and community. The PD says they've been doing a lot of community outreach. They'll be holding another community meeting Wednesday night at Eastlake Park; they say it's one of many that are scheduled. 


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