Faith leaders meet with South Bend mayor, call on him to improve public safety
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - South Bend’s mayor today met with leaders of the faith community five weeks to the day after police shot and killed a man who was having a mental health episode.
14 faith leaders from 12 different congregations attended a closed-door session that lasted about an hour and ten minutes.
After the meeting, and before speaking with the media, faith leaders passed for 47 seconds of silence. That’s one second for every minute the standoff between Dante Kittrell and police lasted.
“We gather this afternoon as a diverse group, yet we are united in wanting a safe community for all,” said Vickie Van Nevel with First United Methodist Church of South Bend.
“I just want to make it very clear we support the police department. Make it very clear to everyone, we’re not bashing the police department whatsoever. We’re asking for additional help for them so when they run across a situation such as a mentally ill person, they will have the assistance, they will be trained better so that we can reduce the risk factor of losing another life,” added JB Williams with Abundant Faith Family Ministries.
Mayor James Mueller issued the following statement after the meeting:
The shooting was deemed police justifiable last week.
The discussion on the city’s crisis response procedures will head out to the community at large on Tuesday of next week. The public is invited to provide input from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Brown Family Learning Center.
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