MetroFocus: May 24, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST: GEORGE FLOYD, DEREK CHAUVIN & JUSTICE ON TRIAL

The judge who oversaw Derek Chauvin’s murder trial recently ruled that there were four aggravating factors in the killing of George Floyd, a decision that allows him to give Chauvin a lengthier prison sentence. But now the defense for another officer to stand trial in the death is arguing the medical examiner was coerced into altering the autopsy findings. What weight will the argument carry in the court of law and on the scales of justice? Tonight our panel examines the case on the eve of the one year somber anniversary of the death of George Floyd. New York Law School professor, retired NYPD detective and Director of the 21st Century Policing Project Kirk Burkhalter, chair of the Conservative Coalition Joseph Pinion, and “Latino USA” host Maria Hinojosa join us to discuss the ruling, the arguments, and the disappointing truth that remains: racially fueled tragedies are very much prevalent, reiterating just how much work still needs to be done.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHAIM 3:00, POIETTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI SEMITISM THE PETER PETERSON FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BORE BRA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY JANET PRIDLE ZEIGLER, SHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTIN, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO THE 'METROFOCUS' FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

TONIGHT ON THE EVE OF THE ANNIVERSARY OF GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH, WE'RE BRINGING YOU AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION ABOUT WHERE THINGS STAND ONE YEAR LAFTER AND WHERE WE'RE POTENTIALLY HEADED FROM THE COURTROOM TO CONGRESS.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR VIDEO OF FLOYD'S MURDER SURFACED, NEARLY NINE MINUTES MANY OF US WILL NEVER FORGET.

HIS DEATH IGNITED PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY AND SYSTEMIC RACISM THAT CONTINUE TO THIS DAY.

THIS WEEK, THERE ARE RALLIES AND HAPPENING IN HERE AND NEW YORK AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO COMMEMORATE FLOYD'S LIFE.

THERE'S PLENTY OF DISCUSSION OF WHAT'S TO COME AND WE'LL CONTINUE WITH OUR PANEL OF GUESTS AS PART OF OUR LOOK AHEAD AT THE MAJOR HEADLINES AND POTENTIAL IMPACT ON THE TRI-STATE.

FIRST WELCOME A NEW GUEST TO OUR ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION KIRK BIRKHALDER, NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR DIRECTOR OF THE 21st CENTURY POLICING PROJECT AND RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

MY PLEASURE, GLAD TO BE HERE.

WE'RE JOINED AGAIN BY MARIA HINOHOSA, ANCHOR OF LATINO USA ON PUBLIC RADIO.

WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

AND RETURNING GUEST IS JOSEPH PINION CHAIR OF THE CONSEBIVE COLOR COALITION AND HOST OF SATURDAY'S AGENDA.

GOOD TO BE WITH YOU.

KIRK, I WANT TO GET YOUR STAKE ON NOW THAT THE CHAUVIN TRIAL IS OVER AND IT FELT LIKE EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY, IT WAS ONE OF THE GALVANIZING MOMENTS WHERE PEOPLE REMEMBER WHERE THEY WERE WHEN THEY GOT THE ALERT THAT THE JURY WAS GOING TO BE READING ITS VERDICT AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS STOPPED WHAT THEY WERE DOING TO WATCH THE OUTCOME OF THAT TRIAL.

WHERE DO THINGS STAND NOW CHAUVIN'S CASE AS WELL AS THE THREE OTHER OFFICERS WHO WERE ALSO CHARGED IN FLOYD'S DEATH?

SO AT THIS POINT, CHAUVIN WAS CONVICTED AND HE IS AWAITING SENTENCING.

HE WILL CERTAINLY APPEAL HIS CONVICTION.

HE HAS 90 DAYS IN MINUTE ANYONE TO APPEAL THE CONVICTION.

HE HAS VARIOUS GROUNDS TO APPEAL.

IT DOESN'T MEAN IT WILL BE GRANTED ABOUT I ANY MEANS BUT HE HAS GROUNDS FOR THE APPEALS, THE JURY WASN'T SEQUESTERED AND THE PUBLICITY SURROUNDING THE TRIAL AND SO FORTH.

SO THAT'S WHAT HIS LAWYER WILL ATTEMPT TO OR SHOULD RATHER ARGUE ON APPEAL.

AS FAR AS THE OTHER THREE OFFICERS AND THEY ARE AWAITING TRIAL, THAT TRIAL IS NOW SCHEDULED FOR SOME TIME NEXT YEAR.

THERE'S A LOT THAT WILL OCCUR BETWEEN NOW AND THEN.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS OPENED AN INVESTIGATION, CHAUVIN WILL BE SENTENCED AND SO FORTH, SO I SUSPECT THAT WHAT WE WILL SEE IS THAT THEIR ATTORNEYS WILL AWAIT TO SEE THE OUTCOMES OF ALL THESE MATTERS, THERE'S A STRONG LIKELIHOOD I BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL ACCEPT A PLEA FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT REASONS, ONE BEING THAT THE PUBLIC, THE NATION PROBABLY WOULD NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH ANOTHER TRIAL AND WATCH THIS FOOTAGE AGAIN, ALSO, LIKELIHOOD OF BEING CONVICTED SEEING WHAT OCCURRED WITH THE CHAUVIN TRIAL IS HIGH SO THEY WOULD BE MOTIVATED TO TAKE SOME PLEA AND FINALLY IF I'M THEIR ATTORNEY, I WOULD CERTAINLY THROW OUT THE BAIT AND SEE WHAT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WOULD TAKE IT UP AND PERHAPS THAT MY CLIENTS WOULD TESTIFY ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT IN A CIVIL RIGHTS ACTION AGAINST DEREK CHAUVIN.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

MARIA, I'D LOVE TO GET YOUR TAKE ON NOT ONLY THE WAY THAT THAT VERDICT WAS DELIVERED AND HOW THAT IMPACTED AGAIN LIKE I SAID MILLIONS OF PEOPLE LITERALLY STOPPED WHAT THEY WERE DOING TO TURN TO THE TV TO SEE WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW, AS KIRK JUST LAID OUT, THERE'S STILL PORTIONS OR PIECES OF HIS CASE THAT WILL BE WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE JUSTICE SYSTEM, AND ANY IMPACT THAT COULD ALSO HAVE.

YES, JENNA, IT'S TRUE.

I'M THINKING EXACTLY WHERE WE WERE MOST OF US WERE STILL AT HOME, RIGHT, SO I WAS AT HOME WHEN IT HAPPENED, BUT I WAS WITH MY FAMILY, SO IT BECAME A FAMILY MOMENT, WHICH IS VERY INTERESTING IN TERMS OF THE DYNAMIC OF THIS PARTICULAR CASE AND THIS COUNTRY AND ITS HISTORY.

PEOPLE REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE WHEN MARTIN -- I'M OLDER, SO YOU KNOW, WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS SHOT.

THESE MOMENTS THAT ARE KIND OF LIKE WHERE WERE YOU ON 9/11 THAT FORM YOU.

SO THIS ENTIRE CASE HAS FORMED AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF PEOPLE.

REMEMBER A YEAR AGO, IT WAS SOON AFTER A YEAR AGO, AFTER THE VIDEOS CAME OUT WHEN PEOPLE WERE POURING INTO THE STREETS AND JUST COME TO LOWER SOME NUMBERS HERE IN NEW YORK CITY AND IT WAS JUST LIKE THE FIRST THING THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GO DO IS GO TO PROTEST.

SO WHEN I THINK IN PARTICULAR ABOUT THIS CASE AND IN PARTICULAR LATINOS AND LATINAS AND IMMIGRANTS, BECAUSE ALL OF THIS IS HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME, IF YOU THINK THAT LATINOS AND LATINAS ARE THE SECOND LARGEST VOTING BLOCK AND EVERY 18 SECONDS A LATINO TURNS 18 IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LATINA OR LATINO, YOU HAVE SO MANY YOUNG LATINOS SEEING THIS AND CLEARLY MAKING A DECISION ON WHICH SIDE THEY ARE AND WHEN THE DECISION HAS BEEN STEADFASTLY IN THE SIDE OF BLACK LIVES MATTER, AND THAT'S WHY THIS IS SUCH A HISTORIC CASE FOR THE LONG-TERM IMPACT GENERATIONALLY OF THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT, AND ALSO JUST THE SADNESS THAT WE FEEL BECAUSE I THINK ALL OF US REALIZE THAT GEORGE FLOYD WAS, YOU KNOW, I HAVEN'T SEEN THE VIDEO.

I DON'T WANT TO SEE IT IN ITS ENTIRETY.

I'VE SEEN SNIPPETS BUT HE WAS A HUMAN BEING.

HE WAS A DAD.

HE WAS A FOOD SERVER, WORKER.

HE WORKED IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY.

HE DID SECURITY AT A NIGHTCLUB IN MINNEAPOLIS.

HIS GIRLFRIEND WAS WHITE.

HE WAS INTERSECTIONAL IN EVERY PART OF HIS LIFE FROM TEXAS TO MINNEAPOLIS.

HE REPRESENTS SO MUCH OF WHO WE ARE AND HE'S GONE.

OF COURSE.

JOSEPH, ONE QUESTION FOR YOU AND THAT IS AS KIRK MENTIONED, PART OF THE CONCERN, LET'S SAY THAT MIGHT BE BROUGHT UP IN ANY APPEAL WAS THAT THE JURY IN THE CHAUVIN TRIAL WAS NOT SEQUESTERED, AND THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF CONCERNS THAT SOME PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT IF THEY DIDN'T DELIVER ANYTHING BUT A GUILTY VERDICT, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT PROTESTS AND PERHAPS EVEN MORE GOING ON IN THE STREETS, AND THAT SOME JURORS MAY HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED BY THAT.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S FAIR TO BRING UP IN AN APPEAL?

LOOK, HE HAS THE RIGHT TO BRING IT UP.

I THINK WE WOULD BE NAIVE TO THINK THE EXTERNAL FACTORS DON'T PLAY A ROLE IN SOME MANNER, BUT JURORS ARE GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, DEREK CHAUVIN IS SITTING BEHIND JAIL, JAIL BARS RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT HE HELD HIS KNEE ON THE NECK OF A HUMAN BEING FOR NEARLY NINE MINUTES, WHILE HE DEFECATED ON HIMSELF AND CRIED OUT FOR HIS MOTHER.

THAT IS A BRAZEN DISREGARD FOR THE LIFE BENEATH HIS KNEE, THAT IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER DEPARTURE FROM ANYTHING THAT ANY REASONABLE PERSON COULD DETERMINE TO BE GOOD POLICE WORK, AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, TO MY COHORT'S POINT, THE HARD TRUTH IS THAT PEOPLE HAVE LOOKED UNDER EVERY ROCK, EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY TO TRY TO JUSTIFY THE UNJUSTIFIABLE.

THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR WHAT DEREK CHAUVIN DID, AND IF SOMEBODY TRIES TO FIND SOME JUSTIFICATION, I THINK IT'S MORE REFLECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SO IN MANY WAYS DEGRADED THE VALUE OF BLACK AND BROWN LIVES IN THIS COUNTRY THAT YOU COULD ACTUALLY THINK THAT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT COULD EXCUSE THAT INEXCUSABLE BEHAVIOR.

ULTIMATELY WHEN WE MOVE FORWARD HERE IT'S ABOUT REALLY AS A NATION TRYING TO SET A STANDARD AS MUCH AS WE KNOW THAT THERE HAS BEEN A DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF MINORITIES IN THIS COUNTRY, THIS TRIAL IN MANY WAYS IS MUCH BROADER THAN THE RACIAL COMPONENT.

IT'S FOCUSING ON THE FACT WHAT IS THE BAR THAT WE SET?

THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT COULD HAVE HELPED GEORGE FLOYD, INTERCEDED ON HIS BEHALF WERE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD A BADGE AND WERE IN A UNIFORM AND NONE OF THEM DID ANYTHING AND SO FOR ME, THE NEXT TRIAL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL BECAUSE FOR ME, THAT WAS QUITE CLEAR.

IT SHOULD BE QUITE CLEAR, BUT THE NEXT TRIAL IS MORE IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IF WE GET TO THE POINT WHERE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO WERE ACTUALLY IN A POSITION TO INTERCEDE ARE NOW SAYING THEY NO LONGER HAVE A LEGAL OBLIGATION TO DO SO, THEN NOW WE AS SOCIETY HAVE A NEW SET OF STANDARDS FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US.

SO THAT TO ME WOULD BE TELLING AND I'M HOPEFUL, OPTIMISTIC THAT WE WILL SEE JUSTICE PREVAIL, BECAUSE TO ME, THAT IS THE MORE IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THIS ENTIRE SITUATION.

OKAY, SO KIRK ACTUALLY, A LOT OF THE POINTS THAT JOSEPH BRINGS UP, THE FACT THAT BLATANT DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE WAS SHOWN, THAT THE OTHER OFFICERS WHO COULD HAVE STEPPED IN AND HELPED DID NOT, AND THAT THAT SHOULD ALSO BE SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE HELD TO ACCOUNT, YOU'VE BEEN A VERY BIG VOCAL ADVOCATE NOT JUST ON POLICE REFORM, WHICH IS A PHRASE WE HEAR SO MUCH THESE DAYS BUT BEING VERY SPECIFIC AND CHANGING THE WAY POLICE OFFICERS ARE TRAINED.

DOES WHAT YOU'RE PROPOSING, FIRST EXPLAIN TO OUR OFFICERS, EXCUSE ME, OUR AUDIENCE WHAT IT IS YOU'D BE PROPOSING BUT WOULD THAT HAVE PERHAPS CHANGED THE OUTCOME IN A CASE LIKE THIS?

I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE, BECAUSE WHAT I'VE BEEN ADVOCATING FOR IS A REFORM IN CULTURE, AND THAT REFORM IN CULTURE STARTS WITH AND I'LL USE THE WORD EDUCATION, RATHER THAN TRAINING.

SO LAW ENFORCEMENT IS A PROFESSION OR IT AT LEAST SHOULD BE AT THIS POINT.

IT'S NOT JUST THE JOB.

IT'S A PROFESSION.

IF YOU THINK OF HOW HIGH THE STAKES ARE AND WHO THE POLICE DEAL WITH AND WHAT'S AT ISSUE AND WHY WE CALL THE POLICE WHICH IS AN ENTIRELY ANOTHER ISSUE WHETHER WE SHOULD CALL THE POLICE ON SOME OF THE MATTERS BUT IT IS A PROFESSION AND IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR A PROFESSION, THIS MEANS AN EXTENSIVE AMOUNT OF EDUCATION, SO FOR MOST POLICE ACADEMIES, CERTAINLY HERE, SIX MONTHS OF TRAINING, AND WHAT I PROPOSE IS THAT THIS EDUCATION SHOULD BE AKIN TO SOME FORM OF UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE, NO LESS THAN TWO YEARS OF TRAINING.

IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE DIVERSITY WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, DIVERSITY OF CULTURE, OF BACKGROUND, ORIGIN, ETHNICITY, RELIGION, YOU NAME IT, OUR POLICE OFFICERS SHOULD BE EDUCATED, IN SOCIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY, ANTHROPOLOGY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, IMMIGRATION LAW, DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND SO FORTH, AND AT THIS PARTICULAR POINT, OUR POLICE OFFICERS PRETTY MUCH RECEIVE THE BASICS.

FURTHER, POLICE OFFICERS ARE GENERALLY TRAINED BY OTHER POLICE OFFICERS SO LET'S THINK ABOUT THIS.

YOU ROLL THE DICE THAT HOPEFULLY OUT OF FOR INSTANCE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, OUT OF THE 40,000 MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT, WE'LL HAVE FOLKS THAT ARE THAT VERSED IN THE SUBJECT MATTER THAT I JUST MENTIONED THAT THEY WOULD BE EXPERTS RATHER THAN TAPPING ON THE MOUND OF EXPERTS WE HAVE IN THE CITY.

YOU THINK ABOUT OUR GREAT UNIVERSITIES, GRADUATE INSTITUTIONS AND SO FORTH, THOSE FOLKS WOULD TRIP OVER EACH OTHER TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRAIN OUR POLICE OFFICERS.

THAT'S NUMBER ONE.

THE TRAINING SHOULD BE DEEPER, IT SHOULD BE BROAD, POLICE OFFICERS WOULD GO OUT INTO THE STREET, PERFORM THEIR DUTIES, COME BACK, REFLECT, GO OUT AGAIN, COME BACK, REFLECT AND ANOTHER BY-PRODUCT IS YOU CAN'T HIDE FOR TWO YEARS.

YOU HAVE TWO YEARS TO FIND OUT WHO SOMEONE REALLY IS.

FURTHER, THE INTEGRATION OF CIVILIANS IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS, THIS ALLEVIATES THIS US AGAINST THEM, RIGHT, WHEN YOU JOIN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT -- MY FATHER JOINED THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IN 1962.

I JOINED THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IN 1984.

OUR TRAINING WAS PRETTY MUCH SIMILAR AND BROADLY SPEAKING AS IT IS TO TODAY, AND THE DAY YOU GET SWORN IN, YOU KIND OF TAKE ON SOMEWHAT OF AN US AGAINST THEM MENTALITY.

LET'S NOT FORGET THAT THE POLICE EXIST TO SERVE THE PUBLIC AND THAT'S JUST NOT THE 'VICTIM' OR GOOD PEOPLE.

IT'S EVERYONE.

YOU SERVE THOSE WHO ARE VICTIMS AS WELL AS THOSE WHOM YOU ARREST EQUALLY.

THE CONSTITUTION DOES NOT HAVE A SLIDING SCALE WITH REGARDS TO RIGHTS.

SO IN SHORT, IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION, I BELIEVE WE HAVE THE JUT COME WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF WE SHIFT THE CULTURE AND CHANGE OUR POLICE OFFICERS WHO ARE EDUCATED AND INDOCTRINATED INTO THE SYSTEM.

WE TAKE SOME TIME TO SEE THE RESULTS OF THIS BUT THIS ALSO LENDS TO HOW OUR POLICE EXECUTIVES ARE TRAINED WHICH I HAVE A PROBLEM, WE PUT THIS ON THE INDIVIDUAL POLICE OFFICER.

NOT THAT THE INDIVIDUAL POLICE OFFICER CAN'T BE WRONG BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE IN THE DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY, WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO WERE AWARE THAT DEREK CHAUVIN HAD HIS THIS PROPENSITY TOWARD VIOLENCE, THE CAPTAINS, THOSE CHIEFS AND SO FORTH AND DID NOTHING.

SO YES, I DO THINK IF WE START AT THE TREE WHERE WE PICK THE APPLES, THAT'S HOW WE EDUCATE POLICE OFFICERS AND REFORM THAT, THAT'S THE FIRST STOP ON THE ROAD TO REFORM.

IS THE KIND OF REFORM THAT KIRK JUST DESCRIBED, MARIA, DOES THAT ALMOST -- BECAUSE IT SOUNDS ALMOST LIKE --

LIKE I WANT TO LIVE IN THAT WORLD BUT I'M SORRY, KIRK, RIGHT HERE, WHERE WE ARE ON THE REALITY TODAY, IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, IN WEST HARLEM, THAT IS NOT THE REALITY.

I MEAN, THE POLICE OFFICERS DON'T EVEN GET OUT OF THEIR CARS TO WALK THROUGH THE PARK.

THEY DRIVE THROUGH THE PARK AND I'M THAT PERSON, OF COURSE, BECAUSE DEMOCRACY IS NOT JUST GOING TO VOTE.

DEMOCRACY IS ENGAGING WITH YOUR POLICE, YOU WALK UP TO THEM LIKE, CAN YOU SLOW DOWN?

WHY ARE YOU DRIVING THROUGH OUR PARK?

CAN YOU GET OUT?

SO I DON'T KNOW, JENNA.

A YEAR AGO I THINK WHEN PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT DEFUND THE POLICE, I THINK THERE WAS A LOT OF LIKE WHOA, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

AND I THINK OVER A YEAR OF THINKING ABOUT THIS AND A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS WERE PEOPLE ARE SAYING IT'S NOT TAKE ALL THE MONEY AWAY FROM THE POLICE.

IT'S REENVISIONING WHAT POLICING IS AND SO I USED TO AND I'M SPEAKING AS AN INDIVIDUAL NOW, NOT AS SO MUCH A JOURNALIST BUT INDIVIDUAL.

I WAS MORE WHERE KIRK WAS BUT ACTUALLY NOW, I'M LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT?

NO.

I DON'T THINK SO.

I ACTUALLY THINK THE ENTIRE THING NEEDS TO BE DECONSTRUCTED.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF POLICING THAT IS BASED ON SLAVERY AND PEOPLE, SO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT HISTORICAL REALITY THERE AND WE'RE NOW IN OUR COMMUNITIES WE ARE OVERPOLICED, AND I THINK UNNECESSARILY SO, AND NOW WE HAVE EVEN WORSE, WE HAVE POLICING INTERSECTING WITH IMMIGRATION AND SO IT IS UNSTOPPABLE, AND WE DON'T HAVE THAT MANY CRIMINALS RUNNING AROUND IN OUR SOCIETY.

WE JUST DON'T.

SO WE NEED SO MANY OF THE POLICING THINGS THAT ARE DONE, IT'S NOISE COMPLAINTS OR SOMEBODY WHO IS HAVING A MENTAL BREAKDOWN AND DO WE NEED TO HAVE ARMED INDIVIDUALS DOING THAT?

RIGHT NOW THERE'S MORE ON TIGHT FOR -- BECAUSE IT DIDN'T STOP WITH GEORGE FLOYD.

DAUNTE WRIGHT, MILES FROM WHERE HE WAS KILLED.

THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS, AND I DON'T LIKE FEELING THIS WAY NECESSARILY, BUT TOO MUCH HAS HAPPENED AND WE NEED TO HAVE A HISTORICAL COMING TO JESUS WITH POLICING IN THIS COUNTRY AND IT NEEDS TO BE FAST, BECAUSE TOO MANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO WE KNOW IN MY COMMUNITY, MY HUSBAND IS AFRO LATINO WITH A THICK ACCENT.

I NEVER EVER WANT HIM TO ENGAGE WITH THE POLICE EVER IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

IT'S UNDERSTANDABLE THE PERSPECTIVE THAT MARIA IS BRINGING TO THIS CONVERSATION BUT AT THE SAME TIME THERE ARE GOING TO BE PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT IN A CITY WHERE WE'VE SEEN AS THE LOCKDOWNS END AND WE GET THROUGH OR PAST THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, THAT WE'VE SEEN A SIGNIFICANT SPIKE IN VIOLENCE.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A COUNTRY OR A CITY WHERE THERE AREN'T POLICE AS WE KNOW THEM, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?

LOOK, I THINK WHAT MOST PEOPLE WANT IS THE SAME THING.

I DON'T THINK THIS IS A PARTISAN ISSUE.

I THINK PEOPLE WANT TO FEEL SAFE IN THEIR OWN SKIN.

THAT EXTENDS TO INDIVIDUALS WHO NOW HAVE A HEALTHY FEEL OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, BUT IT'S ALSO THE PEOPLE WHO RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT WE NEED LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT CHILDREN AREN'T BEING SHOT AT A DRIVE-THROUGH AT A McDONALD'S.

THIS IS THE HARD TRUTH THAT WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO DO BOTH THINGS.

I THINK TO ME THAT'S THE UNFORTUNATE AND MANY UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE OF PEOPLE SAYING DEFUND POLICE, BECAUSE IN MANY WAYS TO DO WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO DO WITH POLICE REQUIRES MORE MONEY, AND TRYING TO HAVE A SLOGAN THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO ACTUALLY SAY WE WANT TO DEFUND POLICE BUT WE WANT TO REFUND THE DREAM OF HOW WE INTERACT WITH ONE ANOTHER IS A VERY COMPLICATED WAY OF TALKING ABOUT AN ISSUE THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME UNDERSTANDING SO TO ME, I LOOK AT SOMETHING ALMOST AKIN TO WHAT WE HAD WITH SEXUAL BASED CRIMES, WE HAVE SVU IS WORLD FAMOUS NOW BUT IT DIDN'T EXIST 40 YEARS AGO BUT SOMEHOW WE CAME TO A DETERMINATION THAT THERE WAS A SPECIFIC SUBSET OF ISSUES IN SOCIETY THAT REQUIRED A SPECIFIC SUBSET OF TOOLS AND SKILLS AND SO WE DEVELOPED AN ACTUAL UXILY LEAR INDIVIDUALS EMBEDDED WITHIN THE POLICE FORCE THAT WERE ACTUALLY SKILLED AND EDUCATED WITH THE TOOLS NECESSARY TO SUBSCRIBE AND MAKE SURE THE VICTIMS FELT COMFORTABLE AND MAKE SURE THAT THE ACTUAL ESSENCE OF THOSE CRIMES COULD BE UNRAVELED.

I THINK WE FACE A SIMILAR TYPE OF CRISIS NOW THIS THIS COUNTRY, HOW DO WE DEAL WITH MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES?

HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE CALLS ARE NOT FOR AN AXE MURDERER IN THE APARTMENT NEXT DOOR, BUT FOR THE FACT THAT THEY'RE JUST PEOPLE HAVING DIFFICULTIES GETTING THROUGH THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE.

HOW DO WE START REIMAGINING POLICE BUT THAT IS NOT ABOUT LESS MONEY.

IN FACT, IN ORDER TO HAVE THAT HIGH POLICING, WE HAVE AN EDUCATIONAL APPARATUS THAT REQUIRES ADDITIONAL FUNDING.

I THINK THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON BECAUSE AGAIN, YOU KNOW, I THINK UNFORTUNATELY POLITICS HAS GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF SO MUCH OF THIS WHEN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT, BLACK, BROWN, JUST WANT TO KNOW THEY'RE SAFE, THAT THEIR NEIGHBORS ARE SAFE AND WE DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE WE FEEL SOMEHOW EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT US LIKE WE ARE THE PROBLEM.

WELL, ACTUALLY, CALLING SAYING IT'S INTO THE A PART SAN ISSUE LEADS ME IN MY NEXT QUESTION, KIRK, LEGISLATION SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING DONE IN WASHINGTON AND YET THERE IS A PARTISAN YOU COULD SAY, DIVIDE OVER SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE GOING TO BE INCLUDED IN IT.

THE BIG POLICE REFORM BILL THAT PRESIDENT BIDEN SAID THAT HIS ADMINISTRATION WAS GOING TO MAKE A PRIORITY.

WE HAVE NEW JERSEY SENATOR CORY BOOKER AND I BELIEVE SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR TIM SCOTT WORKING ON THIS AND YET IT'S THE ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT POLICE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO HAVE QUALIFIED IMMUNITY THAT SEEMS TO BE TRIPPING UP THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION MOVING FORWARD.

I JUST WANT TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHETHER OR NOT THIS IS SOMETHING WE CAN LEGISLATE OUR WAY OUT OF IT OR IF PERHAPS WHAT YOU'RE SUGGESTING IS A BETTER DIRECTION.

WHAT I'M SUGGESTING THE TWO ARE NOT INCONSISTENT.

I THINK WE NEED TO LEGISLATE OUR WAY OUT OF IT IN SOME WAY, SHAPE OR FORM AND HERE'S WHY.

POLICE DEPARTMENTS ARE LOCAL, LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS.

THEY ARE PRIMARILY ON THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL, BUT WE DO SEE OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE 50 STATES AND WE HAVE 50 STATE POLICE ORGANIZATIONS.

THERE IS NO NATIONAL POLICE FORCE AND THEY WERE BASICALLY NO NATIONAL STANDARDS, AND THAT'S WHERE THIS MUST START.

SO THIS PROPOSAL HAS TO BE WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF OUR COUNTRY.

IT HAS TO BE SOME FORM OF LEGISLATION.

AT THIS POINT, A POLICE DEPARTMENT COULD ADOPT CERTAIN REFORMS, CERTAIN CHANGES, COULD ADOPT A POSITION OF WHAT IT EVEN MEANS TO A POLICE DEPARTMENT OR POLICING, AND NEIGHBORING DEATH DEPARTMENT JUST STEP OVER THE BORDER, GO ONE BLOCK AWAY AND CHOOSE NOT TO ADOPT IT.

NEW YORK STATE IN AND OF ITSELF, NEW YORK STATE, RATHER LIBERAL STATE, TWO AT THIS PARTICULAR POINT IN TIME.

US AND NEW YORK AND NEW YORK CITY.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE IN THIS PARTICULAR DAY AND AGE?

I DO THINK THAT WE NEED SOME TYPE OF STRICT FEDERAL GUIDELINES AS TO WHAT POLICING, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A POLICE DEPARTMENT, WHAT IT MEANS TO POLICE AND WHAT THOSE STANDARDS ARE.

NOW, IT SEEMS PRETTY OBVIOUS THOSE STANDARDS SHOULD BE HOW YOU TREAT PEOPLE AND EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW THAT, I MEAN SOMETHING MY FATHER SAID TO ME WHEN I WAS HIRED TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, HE SAID LISTEN, JUST TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WOULD ALWAYS WANT YOUR MOTHER, YOUR BROTHER OR ME TREATED AND YOU'LL BE FINE.

NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE.

YOU WOULD THINK THAT WOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH BUT IT'S NOT UNFORTUNATELY.

SO YES, ABSOLUTELY, WE NEED TO LEGISLATE OUR WAY OUT OF THIS.

WE HAVE SEEN THAT DEPARTMENTS CANNOT POLICE THEMSELVES.

IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT OCCURRED IN LOUISVILLE, TWO YEARS AGO, JUST CAME TO LIGHT RECENTLY, THIS WAS A COVERUP.

NOTHING SHORT OF A COVERUP AND YOU WOULD THINK SINCE THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD AND THE TRIAL OF DEREK CHAUVIN AND ALL THE OTHER INCIDENTS THAT HAVE MADE IT TO THE NEWS, AT SOME POINT, SOME EXECUTIVE, SOME PROSECUTOR, SOMEWHERE IN LOUISIANA WOULD HAVE SAID HEY, MAYBE WE SHOULD GET THIS RIGHT.

IF ANYTHING, BEFORE IT BITES US, BUT THEY NEVER THOUGHT TO DO IT, UNTIL THIS VIDEO SURFACES FROM THE AP.

SO OBVIOUSLY, IF WE DON'T LEGISLATE OUR WAY OUT OF IT, WE WON'T SEE THE CHANGE THAT WE WANT TO SEE BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN THAT IN CERTAIN JURISDICTIONS, LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES, PROSECUTORS AND POLICE EXECUTIVES ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

I'M JUST LOOKING AT MY NOTES QUICKLY BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY, THERE'S BEEN SO MANY OF THESE INCIDENTS AND I MYSELF GET A LITTLE CONFUSED BUT THE INCIDENT YOU'RE SPEAKING OF WAS A FATAL ENCOUNTER BETWEEN A MOTORIST RONALD GREEN, A BLACK MAN, IN LOUISIANA, AND THAT HE DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY AFTER HE HAD BEEN DRAGGED AND KICKED, THIS HAPPENED IN 2019.

THE FAMILY WAS INITIALLY TOLD THAT HE DIED AS A RESULT OF A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT, AND LIKE HE JUST SAID, HE WASN'T TOLD UNTIL THE VIDEO SURFACED VIA THE AP IT TURNED OUT WHAT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT WAS PLANNING ON OR TOLD THE FAMILY WAS NOT CORRECT.

AND YOU MIGHT DRAW A SIMILAR LINE TO THE GEORGE FLOYD CASE WHERE INITIALLY IT WAS A MAN DIED OF A HEART ATTACK IN POLICE CUSTODY WHEN THE VIDEO SHOWED US THAT WAS NOT CORRECT.

I REALLY WANT TO CONTINUE THIS CONVERSATION BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO GET TO.

ONE OF THE OTHER BIG ISSUES OF COURSE IS THAT STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A NEW BILL THAT WAS GOING TO CHANGE OR AMEND NEW YORK'S USE OF LETHAL FORCE UNTIL ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY RESORTS.

UNFORTUNATELY THAT IS LEFT UP TO THE DISCRETION, I GUESS IT'S NOT NECESSARILY CLEAR AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT, BECAUSE THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF INDIVIDUAL CHOICES THAT POLICE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE IN THE FIELD, BUT WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME SO I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THANK MY PANEL.

JOSEPH, ALWAYS GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE SHOW.

MARIA, IT IS ALSO GREAT TO HAVE YOU AND WELCOME TO OUR NEW 'METROFOCUS' GUESTS.

WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU BACK.

KIRK BIRKHALTER, LAW PROVER AND DIRECTOR OF THE 4/7 POLICING PROJECT.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

A GOOD ONE.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

ABSOLUTELY.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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