(KFYI News) – The Phoenix chief of police on Saturday answered the call of the family and friends of Michelle Cusseaux, a mentally ill woman who was shot and killed by a Phoenix police officer when she charged at him with a claw hammer.
Police chief Daniel Garcia had previously ordered his department to conduct both a criminal investigation and an internal investigation into the shooting. But Cusseaux's supporters, including her mother, demanded an independent investigation by an outside law enforcement agency.
On Saturday, Garcia – surrounded by Mayor Greg Stanton, Vice mayor Jim Waring, and city manager Ed Zuercher – announced that the Arizona Department of Public Safety had agreed to take over the criminal investigation "in lieu of the Phoenix Police Department."
Chief Garcia said he wanted the probe to be completely transparent, noting that recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, seem to have lessened public trust in the police.
"One thing that you have to build between the community and law enforcement is trust," he said. "If we don't have that trust on a daily basis, then there's no need to partner with the community."
He added, "This tells the community that we're open to allow other agencies to make those tough decisions for us if we need to."
PHOTO: Chief Garcia talks to reporters on Saturday, flanked by city manager Ed Zuercher (left) and Mayor Greg Stanton.