Iowa City leaders address demonstrations, policing during city council meeting
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - In the time between protests in Iowa City on Monday night and Tuesday night, the city’s mayor, interim police chief, and police union president addressed civic unrest across the country, state and in their own city during a virtual city council meeting Tuesday.
Mayor Bruce Teague and Police Union President Andy Rich both said they support the peaceful demonstrations happening locally.
“We do want to thank the demonstrators who have poured out their hearts peacefully, and we want you to know that we do support you, we support the cause, and we will work to keep you safe while we work through this very difficult time for our city and our state and our nation," Rich said.
Interim Chief Bill Campbell noted some of the recent work he said his department has done to improve its policing and relationships in the city.
Campbell said the department has taken part in training for unconscious and implicit biases and de-escalation techniques, along with other recurring training they’ll continue to do, and he said police also work with the community to assess the department’s strengths and weaknesses. That includes collaborations with the NAACP and police citizens review board, according to Campbell.
Rich, a police detective, also said Iowa City police don't stand for improper police practices, including those that led to the death of George Floyd.
“We also vow to the public that we will not be complicit if an act of police brutality by one of our members or by members of another department or office is witnessed. As a union, we will not defend actions of brutality in our community,” Rich said.
Teague called for people to have difficult conversations about race, equality, and equity right now. He said he’s feeling grief, frustration, anger, and feelings of hopelessness, and added that he knows he’s not alone in these feelings.
“The message to all the individuals within our community that is suffering and grieving, again, we ask that you reach out and console each other, and there’s ways to express your frustrations by speaking out and sharing what that is, and I am hopeful that we will get through this,” Teague said.
Two members of the public also addressed council members on these issues.
One person said she wanted to hear Iowa City police address how they’ll engage with protestors, and the second person asked about the possibility of the Iowa City Police Department adding the prohibition of chokeholds and strangleholds to its use of force policy.
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