CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The wife of a Hispanic man who was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in September spoke directly to Chief Kerr Putney Thursday night.
Body camera video was released of the deadly shooting on Oct. 6. In the video, Ruben Galindo had his hands up moments before police fired the deadly shots. Chief Putney called the community meeting together Thursday night.
"It makes me fearful that if something happens further down the line, I would be afraid of calling 911," one member of the crowd said.
Putney used a translator to speak with residents who were at the meeting. Directly across from him in the front row, sat the wife of Ruben Galindo.
"Right in front of me is a family that's mourning. We can't try to use words to explain away that pain," Putney said.
At one point in the meeting, Galindo's wife spoke directly to the chief from the microphone, giving her perspective of that night. "He did not have a gun in his hand," she said to him in Spanish.
Galindo was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher at the time of the shooting. He told them he had a gun to turn into police, and that it did not have any bullets inside.
"I suppose the officers both knew very well he was on the phone with 911," Galindo's wife said.
"I can't respond any more specific to that case," Putney said in reply. "And my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry for your loss."
Putney says he called the meeting to start a dialogue with the Hispanic community. He says he has sent officers to Spanish-speaking countries in the past to learn the culture. There are currently 84 officers in the department.
Now, the chief is asking for the community's help to recruit more.
"When are you going to make it so it's not so adversarial?" Putney asked. "To make people think it's okay to come and be an officer."
He also noted how he felt after watching the body camera footage of the incident.
"The question I kept trying to answer in my head, is what do you tell the children?" Putney said.
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