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Des Moines police de-escalation trainer’s background raises concerns

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines police are facing pushback after putting a sergeant who has been disciplined for excessive force on a five-person team that leads de-escalation training. 

City Manager Scott Sanders defended the decision to make Sgt. Michael Fong a trainer this past week in an email that the Des Moines Register obtained through a records request. He wrote that he and Police Chief Dana Wingert met privately with “sincerely concerned residents,” but he told the mayor and council members in the email that he didn’t find their arguments persuasive. 

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and others have repeatedly and publicly asked that Fong and another officer, Sean O’Neill, be removed from their roles in the department’s de-escalation training.

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