Village SquareCast Features Panel on Law Enforcement and Racial Inequality

Village SquareCast Features Panel on Law Enforcement and Racial Inequality

The Village Square recently hosted a panel on race relations on the Village SquareCast podcast. The podcast episode, “Equality in Life: Justice and Law Enforcement,” was moderated by former Tallahassee Democrat publisher Skip Foster and featured nine panelists.

The panelists were Rev. Dr. RB Holmes, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe, FBI Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas, State Attorney Jack Campbell, Sheriff Walt McNeil, Police Chief Lawrence Revell, Tallahassee NAACP President Adner Marcelin, and Greater Bond Community Neighborhood Association President and Founder Talethia Edwards.

Throughout the episode, the panelists discussed race and law enforcement issues. Foster asked civil rights attorney Ben Crump what he would say to the Sheriff and the Police Chief based on his experiences with families he’s represented. Crump is currently representing the family of George Floyd.

Crump emphasized the importance of the citizens’ review board. The Tallahassee City Commission approved the creation of a citizens’ review board back in June in the wake of three officer-involved shootings in Tallahassee.

“Are you willing to have a citizens’ review board that challenges the credibility of your agency to make your agency better?” Crump asked. “And if you’re not willing to be questioned, then aren’t you really above the law?”

Crump also called for police reform across America.

“If there’s going to be a change in the culture and the behavior of policing in America for disenfranchised people, it has to happen in the aftermath of George Floyd,” he said. “Other than that, we’re going to see more hashtags of Black people being killed, we’re going to see more protesting and rioting and more cities on fire in America.”

He also commented on the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

“It was not the protestors who started the fires burning in cities across America,” he said. “It was police brutality and a racist criminal justice system. And until we address these issues, those fires won’t be extinguished. We’ve got to have police accountability, and we’ve got to have equal justice under the law, and we’ve got to be honest with ourselves because technology is showing us what Black people have been saying for decades, that we are brutalized and we’re treated differently, and now you get to see it with your own eyes, America.”

Earlier in the episode, Sheriff Walt McNeil and Tallahassee Police Department Chief Lawrence Revell discussed their experiences in law enforcement.

Foster asked McNeil about his experience as an African American person in law enforcement.

“It’s always been something of a challenge as an African American when you, every day, are policing in the African American community,” McNeil said. “I see quite clearly that law enforcement is forced to over-police African American communities not only here in Leon County but all across our country. What that speaks to, to me, is, as an African American looking at it, is that we have allowed the social problems of our nation and our community to fall to the laps of law enforcement, and we are not the entity that’s most capable of doing that.”

He also gave his thoughts on calls to defund the police.

“I think that speaks to a desire to see more resources in the field with social services organizations being able to respond as opposed to law enforcement,” McNeil said. “And that way you stop, from my perspective, what’s perceived as over-policing.”

Revell brought up actions TPD is taking, including training.

“We are bringing back fair and impartial policing and implicit bias training that we’re going to make available not only to our agency but partnering with FSU and LCSO and FAMU PD and TCC to make sure that we can get as many people as we can into that training,” he said.

Revell said the training will take place at the Civic Center over the course of four days, and he hopes to put seven to eight hundred local officers through the training.

The panelists also participated in a live question-and-answer session with community members later in the episode. The full podcast episode is available here.

21 Responses to "Village SquareCast Features Panel on Law Enforcement and Racial Inequality"

  1. Avatar
    samantha albers   August 13, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Oh! got you, sorry.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    samantha albers   August 13, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Why were comments disabled for this thread Steve? Did Liz Joyner come after you?

    Reply
    • Publisher
      Publisher   August 12, 2020 at 10:10 pm

      We are going through a software update. Back soon.

      Reply

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