Community Violence Forum Addresses Officer-Involved Shootings

SPOKANE, Wash. - A community forum that focused on ways to curb violence in the community was held Tuesday night at Spokane City Hall.

Throughout the two-hour discussion Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich fielded questions and comments from the community.

On many minds, concerns over a spike in violence including recent law enforcement related shootings and the Martin Luther King Junior Day bomb scare last month.

"We will take the comments that were made, we will take the suggestions truly to heart," Mayor Verner said after the forum.

Members of the audience included Rogers High School juniors Audrey Dituri and Hailey Christy.

"I'm tired of people saying you're from Hillyard, you're from the ghetto, it's interesting to see how Spokane is taking steps towards making a change," said Dituri.

Both showed up to observe and be part of the community conversation.

"It was actually really interesting, I'm glad that I came. I wish a lot people were here," added Christy, who would have like to see more teenagers involved.

Also among the large and diverse crowd crammed into Spokane City Hall were Hank Broeckling and his wife, Joan. The couple moved from western Washington to Spokane a few years ago seeking a quiet life. But recently, they decided not to ignore away what needs to be fixed in their new home.

"The reason we came tonight we're really interested in lending our energy to this process. I think a lot of people are asleep not aware of what's going on in Spokane," Hank Broeckling said.

The City of Spokane has distributed "Community Conversation" comment cards asking the public to submit comments, suggestions and questions on how to tackle violence in the community.

The NAACP will be hosting another violence forum on February 21 at the Eastside Community Center at 7:30 p.m.