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Advocacy groups call public forums on police use of force

Several groups are asking people who have been shot, beaten or shocked with a Taser by a Las Vegas police officer to share their stories at two public forums this week.

The forums are designed to give the public a place to share their thoughts and concerns about how police use force in their community.

"We want to have a better understanding about what’s happening on the ground," said Staci Pratt, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

The forums are sponsored by the ACLU of Nevada, the Las Vegas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Mexican consulate and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

The forums are open to anyone, not just people who have been subject to police force.

The groups plan to hold forums in the seven zip codes where Las Vegas police shoot at people the most. But ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Dane Claussen said they aren’t just interested in stories about shootings.

"We are particularly interested in hearing evidence and stories about nonlethal uses of force because those don’t nearly get the media coverage that lethal uses of force have gotten," Claussen said.

Las Vegas police recently have changed their use of force policy in the wake of several controversial shootings and recommendations from the NAACP and ACLU.

Representatives of the ACLU and the Mexican Consulate will be on hand to hear from the public during the meetings, Pratt said.

The first forum is Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mexican Consulate, 823 S. Sixth St., near Charleston Boulevard. The second is Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Third Apostolic Assembly church at 4509 E. Bonanza Road, near Lamb Boulevard.

Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at lmower@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.

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