Anchorage Shootings Topic of Town Hall Meeting

A town hall meeting to discuss recent police shootings in Anchorage is set for Thursday. Officials, including the Police Chief and the Mayor, plan to attend. Community organizers say it is step in the right direction.

Organizers say the town hall meeting is meant to promote communication between the Anchorage Police Department and the communities impacted by the recent shootings. The meeting is being coordinated by the Anchorage Community Police Relations Task Force. Reverend Dr. William Greene is the chair of that group.

“We got five people that will speak from the Polynesian community. Then we’ll have a word of prayer. Then I’ll introduce the Mayor and the Police Chief for his remarks. Then we’ll get into the discussion,” Greene said.

June 9, an Anchorage Police Officer shot and killed Shane Tasi, a Samoan man who was brandishing a stick in the Mountain View Neighborhood, saying the stick was a deadly weapon. An investigation by a branch of the Attorney General’s office cleared the officer involved of any criminal charges. A toxicology report released Tuesday by the Anchorage Police shows the presence of alcohol, marijuana and synthetic cannibinoids, such as K2 or Spice. In addition, Police say Tasi’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. The shooting sent shock waves through the community. Miriama Aumavae is with the newly formed Polynesian Community Center. She will speak at the meeting.

“What I hope you know to come out of this meeting is answers from the Anchorage Police Department and government officials on protocols and policies. You know we want it to pretty much have concerned citizens and you know the community to come and you know have a voice and really seek answers for themselves from government officials. And  you know the other goal was to start the healing process, you know like a starting point,” Aumavae said.

Aumavae says the toxicology report released Tuesday just reaffirms her belief that Anchorage Police Department protocols need to be reviewed, especially for dealing with people under the under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Anchorage Police spokesman Lieutenant David Parker says the synthetic drugs Tasi was using may explain why he was acting out of character. The town hall meeting on the shootings is set for Thursday at  the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers conference room from 5:30 to 7:30.

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Daysha Eaton is the News Director at KBBI in Homer. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.