Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams promised change in her department after being booed by hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night to discuss a videotaped police encounter that has caused a national outcry.
The meeting at a downtown church was called by the city in the wake of the release of a bystander's video of police officers who pointed their guns and shouted obscenities last month at a black family over a shoplifting incident, ABC15 reports. The incident reportedly involved a doll taken from a dollar store by the couple's four-year-old.
Williams faced a hostile crowd of people who referred to suspects killed in police shootings, regardless of context as "victims." She was interrupted multiple times by angry outcries.
The crowd was extremely vocal when she said, "Real change doesn't start with the police department. Real change starts with our community."
"Real change starts with the firing of the officers! Fire them!" one woman shouted toward the stage.
Williams left the stage during the outcry, but she returned to add that the "community" includes the police department.
Appearing frustrated at times, Williams assured those gathered that the meeting would not be the last. "We are here to listen, we are here to make change," she said.
ABC15 reports Chief Jeri Williams has elected to personally oversee the internal investigation into the officers involved in the incident. Typically, internal investigations of this sort would be overseen by the assistant chief, who would report to the chief.