Transcript for How to reform policing across America
Closing arguments set for Monday in the trial of Derek chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. Meanwhile, just north of the twin cities, protests continue in Brooklyn center, Minnesota, after Sunday's fatal police shooting of daunte Wright. Joining us now is retired NYPD detective, marq Claxton, the director of the black law enforcement alliance. Thank you for being with us today, marq. And we both know that the prosecution and the defense have rested in the chauvin trial but what are your big takeaways now as we wait for those closing statements? I think it's hugely significant that you had a lot of police officers testifying on behalf of the prosecution related to the behavior and conduct of Derek chauvin, and that came as a result of the tone that was set at the top by chief arradondo of Minneapolis and I think that opened the doors for police professionals to fight to restore the integrity of the profession itself and how significant that could be moving forward in regards to other police reform Tell us here, what reform keeps a knee off of George Floyd's neck? What reform keeps an officer from firing at a suspect who is running away? What reform, right, makes the difference? What do you think it really is when we talk about reform that could have prevented any of these tragedies we are seeing playing out on tape? Well, T.J., first off, we got to really deal with, address and recognize what policing culture is, and policing culture is really us against them mentality that police have, it's an insular community that's created, we're constantly at war, everyone outside of the policing profession or our particular agency is out to get us, whether it be the citizens that we've sworn to protect and to serve or the politicians that make these laws and hope to enforce these laws. That's the mentality of policing. That's the police culture. What makes police culture dangerous is when it becomes toxic. Toxic police culture is rooted in intolerance, implicit and explicit bias, too often racism. Those elements and components cause tragic incidents and consequences. That's what's fueling a lot of these incidents and interactions and these fatal police shootings around the country. Listen, we have to address toxic police culture and the ramifications of it. And most importantly, you have to penalize police officers who engage in criminal conduct. That means arresting, prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing them. That will immediately have impact in as far as police behavior moving forward. And, sir, we want to get your take on something we've been hearing a lot about, and we are not trained as police officers, most of us, and we hear this idea out of Brooklyn center, Minnesota, where the former police officer now, Kim porter, shot and killed 20-year-old daunte Wright. The police chief there says it was a mistake because her -- your firearm is on your strong side, and then you have your taser on your weak side. And they are actually calling it a mistake, that she meant to pull the taser. How do you make that mistake? Does that sit right with you? T.J., that's interesting, because the conversation about tactical decisions or tactical errors plays right into the hand of police. Police are trying to box you into this discussion about tactics or training. This isn't a tactic or training issue. In 2009, you had Oscar grant killed in Oakland, California. What happened, the officer said he confused his taser for his firearm. 2015 there was an incident in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 73-year-old volunteer deputy sheriff shot and killed another black man saying that he confused his taser for his firearm. And then we have daunte. What's the common denominator? Black men. That's the common denominator here. So that's what needs to be examined, the relationship and the response and the disproportionality of force that's used when dealing with the black community, not a tactical decision. I spent 20 years in law enforcement. That should never happen, and so that's not even worthy of a significant conversation. This has nothing to do with tactics. It has everything to do with the toxic police culture, training and those implicit and explicit bias factors that I mentioned earlier. Sir, am I hearing right? You don't see that as a mistake that somebody can make? A professional police officer cannot make that mistake, period. Marq Claxton, we certainly appreciate your time, director of the black law enforcement alliance, thank you for being with us on the program today. We appreciate it.
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