Wes Moore discusses importance of creating equitable, safe policing mechanisms

The best-selling author and entrepreneur discusses his book "Five Days" and reacts to the police shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
6:27 | 04/13/21

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Transcript for Wes Moore discusses importance of creating equitable, safe policing mechanisms
Welcome back. Best-selling author and entrepreneur Wes Moore's new book, "Five days" chronicles the 2015 police-related killing of Freddie gray, but every day the headlines continue to prove that new chapters of this horror of America are still being written. Please welcome Wes Moore. Wes, I just -- I have to say, you know, we have been talking all morning about the death of daunte Wright, and, you know, the police saying that the veteran police officer made a mistake. I mean, how do we get this taken care of. How do we stop? Because it just -- it continues to make no sense to any of us, and we're seeing it whether people are being hassled because they're black in a car, being pulled over for traffic stops. You're -- I mean, what's your reaction when you see story after stair after story? You know, I think part of my reaction, whoopi, is it's both horror and it's fear, you know, and it's horror in the fact that we continue to have to have these conversations. I remember when "Five days", you know, came out last year in hard cover. The conversation at that point was, was George Floyd and ahmaud arbery. Now we're simply changing names. Now the name is daunte Wright and lieutenant Nazario, and all these other conversations we have to discuss. We continue to have to have the same conversation because we're not dealing with the roots of this idea of creating equitable and safe policing mechanisms within society, and also dealing with the other things that -- that our nation still has yet to wrestle with, and that is things like race. Things like -- things like economic class. The fact that the president of the United States has only had to call out the National Guard 12 times in our nation's history, and ten of them had to do with race. These are things that continue to show themselves, and when we're having conversations about policing and policing training, that's a partial aspect of what we're talking about, but we have to continue to talk about the challenges of what we see and face are. Mr., Moore, it is day 12 of the Derek chauvin trial who is charged with the murder of George Floyd. The defense says chauvin did not cause his death, but we have heard from several bystanders, police officers, and medical examiners who all agree that George Floyd died from chauvin's excessive force. What has stood out the most to you about this trial, and do you think there's any American that could actually buy that he wasn't killed by Derek chauvin? Yeah. I think the thing is -- there have been two things that stood out for me from this trial. One is the fact that we actually had a chance to see it. Right? The fact we are watching a trial on national television, where people can watch every argument. They can hear every single challenge. They can see every single shred of evidence that the jurors are seeing and so it's allowing us into a process that I think for most of us, we want to be in this process because we wan to see it. The second piece is, when we have watched the heroic testimony of some of these witnesses to include law enforcement, you know, I remember in the military there was a -- there was a code that we were trained in and live by, this idea that we will not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate those that do. It's that last component that sometimes is missed. It's the nor tolerate those that do, and we're watching a heroism of these law enforcement officers who are basically saying, you know, my job is to stand up for justice and truth and protecting the badge, means protecting the actions that are going to best serve the community, and that has been really remarkable seeing that on on full display here. Now there are countless stories of unarmed black men and women being killed by the police, and you focused on one particular story in your book, "Five days." You tell the story of the five days of protests surrounding the death of Freddie gray in Baltimore in 2015 through the eyes of eight different people. Why did you want to write about this story? Yeah. I mean, this was an incredibly personal story for me because I'm a Baltimore Yan, and watching what happened to Freddie really struck a chord. It also struck a chord about how personal it was. The fact we saw someone who literally made eye contact with police and ran, and by the way, that was his crime, that he was in a high poverty area and made eye contact with police because in certain areas around the country, that alone is enough to trigger probable cause. He ran, and an hour later he was in a coma with three broken vertebrae and a crushed voicebox, and after a week of being in a coma, he died, and so there were protests that took place for weeks in trying to understand what exactly happened to this young man during this time, but there was something else that really struck me about his story. That was all of our complicity. It was about the fact that I was in a chapel during his funeral with thousands of people, and I was one of many people who never knew Freddie while he was alive, and there was something about this larger complicity that we all had to own which was really the horror of Freddie gray's story was not just the fact that he had this interaction with police and died in police custody in the custody of people who were supposed to be protecting him. It was also about the fact that it wasn't just about the who. Reporter: -- Horror of his death. It was as we learned of his story, it was the first 25 years of this planet. It was the horror of his life he was forced to live. That was what really struck me. Over this five-day period, I wanted to examine this through the eyes of these eight people, all eight people to Wanda Jones whose brother died in police custody just years before, but was out protesting the death of Freddie gray. A Baltimore city major who grew up in west Baltimore, and who said to me -- I'll never forget where I was when he said to me. He said, Wes, I know for a fact that none of my colleagues woke up that morning with homicide on their mind, but I also know why for kids in west Baltimore, they don't believe me. To be able to examine it through, you know, Anthony Williams, all these characters, that's the thing that made it so compelling for me to want to tell this story.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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