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Impact Of Officer-Involved Shootings Ripples Across The Valley

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Lowered flag at Phoenix Police headquarters on Friday, July 8, 2016.

The mood across the country and in the Valley is somber. Officials and organizers are reacting to Thursday night’s deadly shooting of five police officers in Dallas and the killings of two African American men this week- one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the other in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In Tempe, Lily Duran, who is a police spokesperson, said the department has issued a new safety protocol following yesterday’s attack and will allow officers to ride in pairs.

"We’re going to continue to monitor as things unfold and adjust accordingly," Duran said.

Pray vigils are also taking place in several U.S. cities, including an event by civil rights leaders and community activists in downtown Phoenix Friday night.  

All of this comes on the heels of two other police-involved shootings of two African American men this week.

Former Tempe Councilmember Corey Woods has been thinking about race relations for most of his life. He said there are challenges for many African Americans when it comes to equal treatment and it’s important to have an open and honest dialogue about that.

"There’s been a feeling by African Americans that the concerns are brushed off and you’re just being paranoid, you’re just making a mountain out of a mole hill," Woods said. "Those issues are serious. I mean, the fact of matter is, in life we talk about this all the time, perception is reality."

Although Woods is skeptical that racism in America will ever be eradicated, he remains optimistic about forging solutions.

"All we can hope for is that we’re willing to confront these challenges openly and honestly, have real conversations, make policy changes that really will get at the root of these core issues and continue to move forward as a collective people," Woods said.

Kathryn McKinney is a Phoenix community organizer and said police training needs to change.

"We are not criminals and they are taught to look at us as such," McKinney said. "Another thing that needs to be changed, I believe, is that officers, though they represent the law, they are not above the law. They should be treated just like anyone else when they kill somebody."

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.