Protesters demanding the name of the police officer who fatally shot a 23-year-old man were asked to leave a news briefing in City Hall on Wednesday after interrupting a Wichita Police Department spokesman addressing reporters.
Moments into the 10 a.m. meeting, Lt. James Espinoza told about a half-dozen men and women kneeling in protest at the back of the police conference room that the briefing was canceled after one, a woman, began speaking over him, asking: “What about Jan. 4? John Paul Quintero?”
An onslaught of chants “for justice” and demands for information in the police shooting followed.
Espinoza wouldn’t answer their questions. Protesters left a few minutes later.
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Police officials said Wednesday that future news briefings, which are held daily at 10 a.m. and noon on the weekends to relay information about criminal cases and other matters to reporters, may be open only to those carrying media credentials.
In the past, an occasional observer has attended and posed questions.
“This is an opportunity for our partners in the media to ask questions to … do their part in sharing (information) with the community,” Espinoza later told reporters who asked him to address the day’s protest.
“We’re very open to protests. But this was not the setting for that.”
Quintero was fatally shot Jan. 3 in the 500 block of North Oliver after police responded to a 911 call from family members fearful because Quintero was wielding a knife. He died later at a hospital. Police did not recover a weapon.