Monday, July 11, 2016

AMERICAN TRAGEDIES - Dallas and Beyond

"Week of violence sparks national dialogue on race and policing" PBS NewsHour 7/8/2016


SUMMARY:  The deaths of several black men at the hand of police and the sniper slayings of five police officers in Dallas brought the issue of race and policing back to the front pages.  Jeffrey Brown talks to Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University, Dallas Police Deputy Chief Malik Aziz and Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn about what has to be done to bring real change.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  And now back to this week's violence.

From Minnesota to Texas, it has brought long-simmering tensions to the spotlight, sparking a national dialogue on race and policing.

Jeffrey Brown picks up that conversation.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  And for that, I'm joined by three people closely involved with this.

Malik Aziz is the deputy police chief for Dallas.  Edward Flynn is police chief for Milwaukee.  His force has faced scrutiny and protests tied to past police shootings there.  And Michael Eric Dyson is a writer and professor of sociology at Georgetown University.  He is the author of “The Black Presidency,” and wrote a piece today's The New York Times called “Death in Black and White.”

Welcome to you all.

Malik Aziz, I would like to start with you.

And as we start the conversation, could I ask you first, are you able to now to confirm that it was one shooter last night in Dallas?

MALIK AZIZ, Deputy Chief, Dallas Police Department:  Well, all I can really confirm right now is that it's — we know that it's at least one shooter.

And with our investigative unit, who is one of the best in the nation, they're turning over every rock and looking in every crevice to make sure that the Dallas police, as you heard our chief, David Brown and the mayor say earlier, that they believe it's a lone shooter.  We just want to make sure.

So, we haven't concluded any investigation.  We're just on the surface.  So, right now, we have that one lone shooter, and we're going to make sure that he is the only one before we release any definitive totality of statements.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Tell us, Commander Aziz, your own feelings, the feelings of members of the force about what happened last night.

MALIK AZIZ:  Well, I can say, extend my heartfelt condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, loved ones, my brothers and sisters in blue across the nation and abroad, that our hearts here in Dallas today are very heavy, a very somber attitude, one of disbelief.

And it is one of those days.  I have been in law enforcement 27 years here in the city or county of Dallas, and I have never had a day like yesterday.  It's a day of days, and the worst day of our career and my career and many others, and one of the worst in the nation.

So our men and women are hurt today, but I must say the outpouring of the residential and business community in Dallas, our awesome citizenry, and they have shown why they're one of the best cities in the world, that Dallas is one of the best cities in the world.  They have shown us so much love and support, and so much love and support in the nation and abroad.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Chief Flynn in Milwaukee, what impact has there been in your force or perhaps in other forces from what happened last night?

EDWARD FLYNN, Chief, Milwaukee Police Department:  Well, I think it's a recognition — and it's certainly a topic of discussion among our officers — of the great conundrum that surrounds American policing, which it is very important for us, most specifically, to protect the rights of the people most displeased with us.

We have done that many times here in Milwaukee, and that takes place in city after city across the country.  Dallas is a fine police department, but it's not an anomaly among American big cities.  Going all the way back to the mid-'90s, when the Clinton administration passed the omnibus crime bill, policing has embraced the notion of community-based policing, reaching out to disadvantaged neighborhoods and doing our best to create alliances with those neighborhoods to work with them to create safe environments.

And that's what we endeavor to do.  And there is no group of people in America more committed to protecting black lives than America's police officers in our urban centers.  We're the one group of people, in fact, that regularly risk our lives to do that.


"Dallas, rattled by police murders, had made strides in community policing" PBS NewsHour 7/8/2016


SUMMARY:  More emerged Friday about Micah Johnson, the Army reservist believed to be behind the sniper slayings of five Dallas police officers in a city that was, by all accounts, making strides in cop/community relations.  Until this week's tragedy, the Dallas Police Department had the fewest officer-related shootings of any large U.S. city this year.  Hari Sreenivasan reports from Dallas.

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