Reimagining Policing in the Face of White Supremacy
Reimagining Policing Workshop Series
This workshop featured a frank conversation about the reality of reimagining policing as white supremacy and white supremacist violence have grown in the United States in recent years.
Police Chief, Louisville Metro Police Department
President and CEO, Southern Poverty Law Center
Senior Director of Criminal Justice Campaigns, Color of Change
Former Mayor of Minneapolis
“It has been one of the tricks of whiteness since, particularly the Civil Rights Movement, that we somehow think of racism as simply a personal feeling or a personal set of behaviors. Something that we think in our heads or do in the world rather than a system—policies, procedures, ways we’ve set up our communities to serve white people better than and at the expense of people of color.” —Betsy Hodges, former mayor of Minneapolis
“Data collection is our biggest challenge. When we know the numbers, we have a much better ability to craft responses and policies that will help us address them. Right now, in the annual FBI report on hate crimes, 86 percent of all police agencies across the country report that there aren’t any or don’t report it all, so we’re not getting information about hate crimes or other hate activity that would actually help us understand the situation much more clearly.” —Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center
“One of the things that happens under white supremacy is that, based on the color of a community or the color associated with a problem, we have a different response. If we want to challenge white supremacy in our thinking around public safety, it starts with this question of ‘When we see a problem that we feel like it’s associated with Black folks, can we check that instinct to say the first solution—and maybe the only solution—is more police, more prisons, longer prison sentences?’” —Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice campaigns at Color of Change
“There has to be money put into solving this problem, and I really hope that we get there because policing is not the answer. That segment of society that is violent is a very small segment and if we as a criminal justice system—that includes the police, the prosecutors, the public defenders, the jailer, the sheriff—if we do our job properly, it’ll be a very small portion of society that we’re ever dealing with. No one else needs to be dealing with a touchpoint with police.” —Erika Shields, chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department
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