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LAS CRUCES CITY COUNCIL

Takeaways from city council special meeting on “8 Can’t Wait”

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Mayor Ken Miyagishima said the Las Cruces City Council will hold another work session “to come up with ideas and policy to present to the Las Cruces Police Department for adoption” as a follow up to the Monday, June 15, special work session which the mayor convened to discuss the “8 Can’t Wait” movement that calls for a ban on chokeholds and seven other policy changes that advocates say could reduce police violence by 72 percent.

The mayor said the city also will “see how we can remove police from dealing with mental, behavioral and homelessness issues and deal in a different manner.”

Miyagishima said “8 That Can’t Wait” responses delivered at the work session by LCPD Lt. Shane Briscoe, a department expert on the use of force, will be posted on both the city and LCPD’s websites.

Also as a result of the work session, he said, NAACP Doña Ana Branch President Dr. Bobbie Green and NMSU Chicano Programs Director Dr. Laura Gutierrez-Spencer will do an LCPD ride-along, he said. “As I black woman in America, when I get stopped by a police officer, I am terrified,” Green said at the June 15 work session. “I can usually tell pretty quickly if he’s a good cop or a bad cop.”

“I was satisfied with the (June 15) meeting,” the mayor said. “One of the councilors wanted more accountability and I get that, but it will take a series of meetings to move forward.”

“Our officers are professionals,” LCPD Deputy Chief Michael Dominguez said at the meeting. “We will respond to your calls without fail. We know that there’s a lot of mistrust out there. We want you to know you can count on us. We are all professionals doing a tough job. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. We will own up to our mistakes. We love Las Cruces. We are a tight community. We are Las Cruces. We are here to back you up. Please reach out to us and know we are a professional organization. We really do care about our community.”

“I deeply trust and respect Deputy Chief Dominguez,” Councilor Johana Bencomo said at the meeting. “This isn’t about the blame that’s being placed on LCPD,” Bencomo said. “But there is a conversation about police brutality that needs to be addressed. This is about the desire to see transparency and to see my tax dollars be used in a responsible manner. I don’t want us to forget that there were lives lost. Those people had families that loved them,” she said. “I’ll never know what being a police office is like. I will also never know what it’s like to be black in America. But I think it’s very important that we have some of those conversations.”