ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The gathering Wednesday night at St. Paul's Hallie Q Brown Community Center in the wake of a deadly officer-involved shooting was a quest for comfort and answers.
“I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears invested in this community,” said Melvin W. Carter Jr., the father of the St. Paul mayor. “I have generations invested in the peace of this community. Anything that's about peace and healing I want to be a part of it.”
Police say 45-year-old William Hughes was armed with a handgun when he was shot and killed by St. Paul police early Sunday morning. Officers were responding to a 911 call of shots fired in Hughes' housing complex.
Officers Vincent Adams and Matthew Jones were both wearing body cameras. Mayor Melvin Carter says he is working to get the body cam video released as soon as possible, but in the meantime, he wanted a safe space for community members to grieve and process what happened together. Cameras were not allowed inside the healing event.
"There's a lot of pain in our community,” said St. Paul Mayor Carter. “There's a lot of frustration there's a lot of anger and we just wanted to give space for people to express."
Some say the meeting was a step in the right direction helping the community build bridges after such a traumatic event.
“It was good,” said Sarah Mullins, a St. Paul resident. “It was hard. It’s a lot of pain. I showed up to be present and receive and hear.”
Others, however, say the saintly city still has a long way to go.
“I said that we as people of color,” said Deana Waukazo, William Hughes’ cousin. “We need to stand together. Stand together as one. This police brutality against us needs to stop.”
According to the St. Paul police chief, the police body camera video will be released within the next nine days.