DOJ holds first community meeting

Created: 04/28/2014 10:51 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The first in a series of community meetings hosted by the Department of Justice to get input on reforms for APD was held Monday evening.

The meetings come after the feds found the department uses excessive force and has a culture of aggression.

Folks showed up not really knowing what to expect, and it caused a little hiccup, but then folks started chiming in. One of the biggest suggestions focused on the DOJ monitor expected to work within APD.

It was a twist on the typical town hall that had some ready to give up on Monday's DOJ community meeting before it got started.

Maria Bautista says she understands mistrust and frustration, but she begged folks to give the meeting a chance.

"I think they come and want to hear everything: give us one, give us two, give us three..." Bautista said.

Things may not be there just yet, but after Bautista's pep talk people did stay. Many, including Bautista, wanted to know how the DOJ's APD monitor will be chosen and whether APD will be able to choose that person.

"The DOJ monitor at City Hall, if he's gonna be stuck to Eden's shoulder, or Huntsman's shoulder, isn't going to work," Bautista said. "I think the monitor has to be out in the patrol cars in the neighborhoods. Working with the chief doesn't get the monitor what he needs."

Lots of folks echoed Bautista's suggestion.

Folks also asked for policy governing more consistent use of lapel cams, and many questioned how often DOJ reforms work.

There are two more public meetings this week for people to provide input to the DOJ about APD reforms.

The next one is at the Palo Duro Senior center Tuesday.

There's also one Wednesday at the Cesar Chavez Community Center.

Both meetings start at five.

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