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. First, Liz Joiner is a well meaning “ally” to all things social justice. She regularly embarrasses herself with shameless pandering. She can’t wait to tell you she went to UNC Chapel Hill and you will be reminded of it frequently. I have never heard a “real” idea come out of Village Square, just a lot of platitudes and meaningless blabber. Ben Crump has hit the big time, and this is straight money for him. Walt is a nice guy, but almost senile. Revell is a useless source of anything but xxxxxxx. Blacks are the largest consumers of law enforcement services, this is not new. Ask most sane blacks and they do not want the police de-funded because they live in these war zones. Keep taking away non lethal weapons from the police, while you say that a made up term of “police violence” is a media creation. Cops have been trained in de-escalation since 1980. Cops know that verbal judo is their most effective weapon. In the end, citizen review boards are highly political window dressing with idiots serving on them. Crump has become the great race pimp and it’s a shame because he was actually a decent guy one time. Chuck Hobbs who has begged to be Crump’s shadow, is now serving a 3rd bar suspension for dishonesty against his own community. If he were white or Hispanic he would have been disbarred. Overall, this forum was mental xxxxxxxx at it’s best.

    1. Mental xxxxxxx?
      Dam n Jon I’ve never been so impressed by another TR commenter.
      Not just that but the rest of the stuff you say is spot on.
      I’ve been considering applying for a leave of absence from TR commenting untill after the election for personal reasons.
      And I may just do that now that you are here.
      Great post my man!!!

  2. Anyone who participates in a forum with Ben Crump is out of the running for me. McNeil needs to retire. He used to be a stand up guy, but that has been 25 years ago. No more.

  3. Regarding our elected officials failure to address problems:
    It was Obama who pioneered the “taskforce or panel” concept we are seeing our local failed elected leadership employing here.
    The concept does absolutely nothing to address the issue but like with Obama the leftist press covers the “taskforce/panel” like true political leadership has been exercised by our elected officials. But in the end nothing whatsoever has been done to address the issue.
    Nothing but a leftist trick.

  4. Revell is an illegitimate crook appointed by Reese Goad, another illegitimate crook.

    Why is taxpayer money funding these phony PR events?

  5. Two of the esteemed panel members that should have not been included.
    Crump of course because his money is made from racial inequality. Continued inequality is necessary for his chosen form of legal practice to prosper.
    And of course Revell because his position does not allow him to have an opinion. They should have just had Reese Goad attend rather than pretending Revell can have an opinion other than Reese Goad’s opinion.

  6. It is unfortunate that these panels do not include the corresponding candidates that relate as this is campaign season… this is the manipulation?

    These manipulations have been successful in high crime rate, corruption, FBI investigations, felony prosecutions leading to jail, and their main candidate being discovered in a fetal position at a drug orgy passed out naked on the lying in his own vomit.

    It is time for Ben Crump and Walt McNeil to exit stage left.

  7. Unimpeachable proof that there is no systemic racism, only the systemic exploitation of the lie.

    Crump is an unmitigated agitator and race pimp, who seeks only to profit off the mayhem. His questions and comments are nothing short of accusatory and unsupported declarations of guilt.

    I’m very disappointed in Revell’s placating to the false narrative and misguided mob mentality. Cowardice pandering is all.

    McNeil seemed to be the only one with the courage to at least align some of the accountability with the AA community and culture.

  8. I was very impressed by the Tallahassee Democrat debate forum between Tommy Mills and Walt McNeil.

    Tommy Mills was the clear winner and listening to Mr Mills he had wonderful professional answers, common-sense answers, and he is street savvy. Mr. Mills is not divisive.

    Mr McNeil will talk about it and consult with his special interests, do nothing committees, and Campaign Committee before making any sort of decision causing more divisiveness, whereby Mr Mills can make the right decision on the spot that will make all the difference into improving conditions regarding law enforcement and lowering the crime rate in Tallahassee.

    Mr McNeil is making a sheriff’s office an extension and a secondary police force where Mr Mills would keep the Sheriff’s Office a sheriff’s office. This is very important.

    There is a growing support for Mr Mills and I highly recommend that voters who want a positive change in Tallahassee vote for Tommy Mills for Leon County Sheriff!

  9. You know the term “Everything comes to a head”, sometimes it happens in Hours, some times it takes Days and some times it takes Years or even Decades. This has been coming to a head for a very long time. Think about these questions:
    Which Race Commits the most Crimes?
    Which Race commits the most violent Crimes?
    Which Race commits the most Crimes with a weapon?
    Which Race is most likely to become Argumentative when pulled over?
    Which Race is most likely to become Combative when pulled over?
    Which Race is most likely to Run from Law Enforcement Officers?
    Which Race is most likely to pull a weapon on Law Enforcement Officers?

    See the pattern? And you wonder why Officers are on the Defensive. Maybe it is the people that needs reform and not the Officers so much. The BLM, Riots, Looting, Business Burnings, Attacks, Murders are NOT helping the Cause.

    Bonus Question:
    What Race is most likely to be Shot Law Enforcement Officers?

  10. If our Sheriff does not want social problems falling on law enforcement, who does he want it falling on in communities? I wonder if he would approve black officers in black communities, white officers in white communities and Hispanic officers in Hispanic communities.

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