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Rochester police oversight commission addresses community concerns

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Police use of force remains a heated debate in Minnesota and across the country. The debate in Rochester continued Wednesday evening.

Rochester's Diversity Council hosted the online discussion with the City's Police Policy Oversight Commission.

Moderator, Angie Porter directed comments and questions from community members to the commissioners.

"Police are trained to kill they aren't trained to de-escalate that's the problem. And if you train a bunch of racists people to kill. What do you think is going to happen?"

That comment was one of several from community members, who weighed in on a wide range of concerns.

Another community question: "What is also being done to protect officers? What control techniques can you recommend in a deadly force situation?"

The William Jordan, Rochester NAACP President who's also a police oversight committee commissioner offered some suggestions.

"The number recommendation is mandatory de-escalation training for all officers. I think if de-escalation if used properly will result in nobody getting injured or hurt. And we've seen de-escalation work in different scenarios," Jordan said.

The commissioners are looking at police use of force, standards of conduct and handcuffing and restraints, especially choke holds.

One community member asked: "Why is the chokehold necessary? They don't have any problem arresting white men who killed many in school shootings.

Another said: "Ban all chokeholds in Rochester."

In June, FOX 47 spoke with Rochester Police Chief, Jim Franklin, who said the use of chokeholds is already restricted.

"I changed our policy and I said that we are going to prohibit the use of neck restraints and carotid controls, unless its a deadly force encounter," Franklin said.

Lawrence Collins, another commissioner, agreed with that policy.

"I think it is a good idea for officers to know what those holds are. Know, when, and why to avoid them. But at the same time when it comes down to criteria for deadly force, if that's the only means available to effect defense of self or others, then I think that it should not be per se illegal," Collins said.

The next Police Oversight Committee is July 7th at 3:30 p.m.

KaMaria Braye

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