Community searches for peace, answers in wake of Tuscaloosa officer’s murder

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala (WIAT)- Right now, one Alabama community continues dealing with the devastation of losing a police officer this week.

“We’ve got to call this what it is: a murder. We have a murder of a police officer and now as a community, how do we respond? My experience in Tuscaloosa tells me that we’re going to respond in a way that’s going to be a difference-maker for many,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

Although fallen officer Dornell Cousette’s name did not appear on the Tuscaloosa City Council’s agenda, his presence loomed large at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I have to tell you the increase of violent crime in our city is deeply, deeply, deeply concerning,” one city told the council.

“I woke up with a heavy heart,” said Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry. “But then I woke up mad as hell because I feel that, how many times do we have to continue to have this happen?  Who is going to be next?”

Council member are calling on pastors, community leaders, and themselves to figure out how to work together to mitigate violence, like what happened in Tuscaloosa’s west end Monday night, leaving two girls without their father and a woman without her fiancee.

“My husband is a retired police officer, and I looked at his fiancée I just sighed like, ‘That could have been me,” reflected McKinstry.

“I think at a minimum all we can do is just say thank you to the men and women of the Tuscaloosa Police Department,” Maddox said.

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