PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A town hall meeting Tuesday evening hosted by Arizona's Family provided a forum for people to have their voices heard as our nation continues to face a time of uncertainty and unrest. Our "Critical Conversations" event confronted topics like racism, defunding the police and the effects of social media. Panelists also discussed ways to heal our communities.
Arizonans were encouraged to send questions and comments to participants before the event.
One topic addressed in the forum was what leads up to the arrests of protesters during demonstrations.
Our Yetta Gibson sat down with Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir to discuss the recent arrests of seven protesters when a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration took a dramatic turn, and the crowd moved into the roadway, blocking traffic. "We gave those folks ample opportunity. Dozens of warnings said you can express yourself all day long, twice on Sunday. If you stay on the sidewalk," she said.
During the melee, Tempe police say that one officer was injured when an unknown projectile thrown by protesters struck the officer in the face, causing a laceration requiring medical attention.
Chief Moir also spoke out about the call made by some to defund police departments, as the cry for police reform grew around the country following George Floyd's death. "Removing the police doesn't address the underlying issues," she said.
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association president Britt London also weighed in on police reform.
"It has to be meaningful," London said. "There has to be something behind it, a study, something that shows it would be beneficial."
London and our Brandon Lee also discussed the practice of qualified immunity, which shields officers from being sued personally for an incident that happens on the job. Officers say they make split-second decisions, and sometimes good officers will make a mistake and claim they shouldn't be punished for it. Critics say it's a shield that protects so-called "bad apples."
Some Valley big-name athletes, like Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, have also made headlines this year as they played a role in fighting for equality and reform. Our Mark McClune sat down with some of them to get their thoughts.
Arizona's Family also talked to the director of the film "The Uncomfortable Truth," which Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams showed to his players.
In addition, Tuesday's forum took a look at whether people think social media is benefiting or hurting society during these uncertain times. Our Facebook viewers weighed in with their opinions. Many of those who responded feel sometimes it can do more harm than good.