Community expresses concerns about Phoenix Police during meeting

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- A meeting took place on Tuesday in Downtown Phoenix to address community concerns about the Phoenix Police Department.

The city's police chief, Jeri Williams, also on hand to talk about some department policy changes. The meeting stems from a videotaped encounter between Phoenix Police officers and a black family.

The City Council heard a presentation from Chief Williams, who presented a five-point action plan, an attempt to come up with solutions in the wake of increased public and police tensions. The action plan addressed communication, modernized technology, best practices, improved training, and getting community feedback.

Chief Williams talked about a full rollout of body cameras by the end of August and streamlining the release of police reports, in addition to working with ASU for better field training, and getting updated software on an early intervention system, technology that's meant to track and flag patterns to stop potential bad behavior before it starts.

The family in the viral video, however, said the change was not enough, even though the plans presented at the meeting were well-received by many in the audience and those on the council.

"I feel like they don't see us," said Dravon Ames. "They don't see us as being human. They don't care what goes on, and everyone in America sees what's going on, and nobody's saying that's OK,"

"Some people want to paint this as an 'us versus them' issue, however, it is much more vast and complex than that narrative allows," said Mayor Kate Gallego. "It is not two groups with opposing views. We have 1.7 million people with opposing views. This will not be solved overnight."

The Phoenix Police Department disputes the family's narrative that this was over petty shoplifting. Instead, police officials said the family was "combative" and "non-compliant". The family, meanwhile, maintains the only thing they will accept is the firing of the officers in the video.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), in addition to police supporters, were also well represented at the meeting. While there were some outbursts during the meeting, the meeting itself remained calmer than recent community meetings.

Eventually, the council voted to start looking for a new intervention software system. The council was also supposed to discuss the potential creation of a civilian review board, but a vote isn't expected Tuesday evening.