Use of Force
I attended a meeting with Chief Ken Cost last evening. The Chief called the meeting to get input from community members regarding the infamous non lethal shooting (Beanbags were used) by the Mesa PD Swat Team in an attempt to arrest Mr. Shampall Williams. According to the police, the arrest warrant for Mr Williams was for a level 6 felony. Circumstances surrounding this arrest brought strong criticism from community members, which included pastors, EVNAACP officers, and many other concerned community leaders. I have two major concerns: 1) Mr Williams was not armed and, 2) There were small children in the immediate area.
My take away from this meeting is this. What tactics should or could have been implemented to mitigate the risks? What strategies should have been in place to safely take Mr. Williams into custody and, more importantly, to insure that innocent bystanders, in this case very small children, are not in harm’s way?
The question I will be proposing to Chief Cost is this: What policies will be adopted to insure this type of situation does not reoccur and how will these policies be translated into immediate AND ongoing training for our police officers?
Although I appreciate the officer’s rationale/decision to use non-lethal force to apprehend Mr Williams, it is totally unacceptable that this “non-lethal” force would have and could have certainly been lethal to the small children in the immediate area.
As a member of the Mesa PD Use of Force committee, I expect policy and training be immediately adopted to eliminate life-threatening situations that involve innocent children.