Healing Circle Held in St. Paul in Response to Officer-Involved Shooting of Billy Hughes

August 13, 2018 07:56 AM

The recovery process has begun in St. Paul following the officer-involved shooting death of 43-year-old William Hughes.

He was killed Sunday morning at a home on St. Anthony Avenue, when officers responded to a 911 call of shots fired.


Hughes was a member of the White Earth Nation. Acknowledging his Native history, a traditional healing circle was held at the Hallie B. Brown Community Center Wednesday.

RELATED: St. Paul Police Chief to Release OIS Body Cam Video in Next 10 Days

"It's unfortunate this happened to their loved and this is what's being used to raise the consciousness of everyone in the community," said Maime Singleton as she entered the building.

About three dozen people turned out. The faces were as varied as the voices when a cultural talking stick was passed around. Melvin Carter Jr. held the feathered stick and shared his sentiments outside.

"I think the gun violence is the bubonic plague and I think we need to attack the issue as the plague that it is," he said.

RELATED: BCA Officially Identifies Those Involved in St. Paul Officer-Involved Shooting

Carter has experienced what happens on both sides of a firearm.  He is a retired St. Paul police officer, having served on the force for 30 years. He is the current mayor's father and he has lost loved ones when bullets hit their bodies.

"We need to come together to figure out how to take the gun madness head-on," he said.

Margaret Brooks came to the gathering.  As the owner of Brooks Funeral Home, she has seen many families suffer when a relative is killed by gunfire, "their grief is so heavy, so heavy."  

Since 2000, roughly 169 people across the state have died during a confrontation with police.  26 people have in St. Paul and 31 in Minneapolis.  The number of lives matter.  Hughes is the latest to compel folks to get together in a healing circle, as they go through different phases of grieving, "it's about the validation of the families' feelings," said one participant.

During the private ceremony, people talked and people listened.  An organizer said that's the point of the circle, people start to heal the moment they feel heard, "help people learn how to de-escalate the big bang theory," urged Carter, Jr.

The forum lasted about two hours.

The officers involved in the shooting death are on paid leave while the BCA continues it's investigation.

Sometime next week, the Police Chief announced he will release to the public video from the officer's body camera's and the 911 audio.


Beth McDonough

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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