City councilor speaks out in wake of foothills standoff

Updated: 03/22/2014 7:21 PM | Created: 03/22/2014 7:10 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

In the wake of a police shooting caught on lapel camera video, some city leaders say it is time to start a more focused conversation on mental health.

City councilor Dan Harris says he does not want to criticize the officers that were involved with Sunday’s shooting, and that hindsight is 20/20, but he says the man’s death shows a problem.

Officers fired two stun gun rounds, six rounds of gunfire, a bean bag and sent in a K-9 unit to subdue 38-year-old James Boyd Sunday.

Police say he was illegally camping in the foothills and when officers tried to get him to move, he threatened them.

“It brings out the fact that when you have these police officers, which are trained essentially in a military fashion, and you have people with mental illness or who are violent, it's a really hard thing to try to sort out and try to better,” Harris said.

He says APD needs more training on dealing with mental health issues, which authorities new Boyd had because of his criminal past and history of attacks on officers.

“It looks like we need to do it better - perhaps give these officers different training or better training so they know how to de-escalate things a little better than they did in this situation,” Harris said.

Harris is not sure yet how he will address the issue, but he hopes this incident will catalyze people into action.

“This is so fresh and it really is in a way very sad, very shocking,” Harris said.

The city released a statement Saturday saying:

"We must await a full review by the independent, multijurisdictional team which will consider a number of factors in addition to the video, including forensic analyses and the autopsy report.  There are several layers of review in an officer involved shooting. We need to allow that process to play out."

- Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry

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