FPD use-of-force experiences heavy discussion during first public City Council meeting since COVID-19

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Questions swirled during Monday night's City Council meeting regarding police use-of-force and targeting of specific races.

“Fairbanks has every reason to be proud of its police department,” City of Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly said, adding however that, "We need to do better when it comes to training." (KTVF)

The issue was brought up several times during the first public meeting since the City shut its doors due to the COVID-19 crisis, beginning with City Mayor Jim Matherly.

The mayor, who asked to read a prepared statement before proceeding through the agenda, mentioned that although the public is not always kept abreast of internal investigations, he follows them closely. “Fairbanks has every reason to be proud of its police department,” Matherly said, adding that “FPD has a record of holding our officers accountable,” and that they “do not want the badge tarnished by bad behavior.”

“But we need to do better when it comes to training,” the mayor added.

After the mayor spoke, citizen comments began with local attorney, William Satterberg Jr., playing a video apparently showing a July 2019 incident involving Fairbanks Police Officer Thomas Broady striking a man.

This station also obtained a copy of a September 5, 2019 letter Satterberg addressed to Fairbanks Police Chief Nancy Reeder claiming that the incident "clearly involv[ed] mental illness."

After Satterberg spoke, other residents spoke to the subject of police use-of-force, several of whom accused FPD officers of racial targeting.

Additionally, a resolution entitled "A Resolution in Response to the Murder of George Floyd Calling for Justice, Unity, Constructive Dialogue, and Action Needed to Confront Racism Wherever it May Exist" was brought to the floor, calling for residents in the city to engage in the national dialogue currently taking place as a result of the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the council.

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