tv Washington Journal Christy Lopez CSPAN June 14, 2020 2:37pm-3:21pm EDT
>> to agree with the attorney general that there is not systemic racism in law enforcement? of us do not most really understand the definition of systemic racism. it changes based on the conversations. what i would suggest is that you look at the racial outcomes. is during this to race in some of the outcomes in law enforcement? i think the answer is yes. can we reduce that so we are no longer battling the question of the definition of systematic or systemic racism? i think answer is yes. but there's no question that the outcomes seem to have a racial component. and that is why we are working on getting all of the information and then re-training and then eliminating those police officers who have a pattern of misbehavior. >> we are back and we are joined by christy lopez, the codirector of the georgetown university law school innovative policing program.
we will talk about the proposals to defund the police and what that means. christy, good morning. guest: good morning and thank you for having me. host: you are the codirector of the innovative policing program at georgetown law school. what exactly is that? guest: that is something i started with some of my colleagues who have a background in policing. one of them is a professor, also a reserved police officer. we do a number of programs trying to get police to speak differently about their professions. we call it the police for tomorrow program. it is a program for officers to bring them together once per month and have them ask some of the hardest questions about policing and talk about how it impacts their life and doing something about it.
whereabouts a starter program, able active bystander support law enforcement. it is really meant to get at one of the issues that was so tragically relevant in the george floyd killing, trying to help officers do a better job intervening to prevent other officers' misconduct. it is something we all think we should do what we know from the , but what we know from the research is that many of us won't do it unless we are prepared beforehand. host: you wrote an editorial in the washington post where you called of de-funding for police. i want to read a little bit from this, because that will answer some of the questions we will get about it. this is what you wrote in the post. for most proponents, defunding police does not mean zeroing out budgets for public safety and police abolition does not mean police will disappear overnight or perhaps ever. defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting what the government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that
need. it means investing more in mental health care and housing, and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs. police abolition remains -- means reducing, with the vision of eventually eliminating our reliance on policing to secure our public safety. it means recognizing that criminalizing addiction and poverty making 10 million , arrests per year and mass incarceration have not provided the public safety we want and never will. is that a common description of what people are talking about when they say defund the police, or is that your personal opinion on this? what i was trying to capture was the commonality of all the different articulations of what people are talking about when it comes to police abolition or defunding the police. i didn't create either term and i'm not calling for either one, but i do think there are a lot of sensible ideas putting
-- being put forward. and people are being stuck on the names so i wanted people to understand what the idea is behind those words. there are ideas i have been hearing about from police officers decades as well as more recently from activists and people interested in getting better outcomes. from policing. we hear a lot -- we have heard a lot lately from police who say they are being asked to do too much. they are being asked to take care of mental health problems, being asked to do a lot of other things outside of strictly law enforcement. does that mean there are police officials and police officers on your side of this equation, when talking about reducing responsibility that police departments have? guest: absolutely. the word defund scares people. the word abolish scares people. to be fair, this really is an
idea to entirely reimagine public safety and rethink how we do it. the police started telling me long before activists did that they were doing too much. everything from taking accident reports, responding to family problems that someone else should be responding to, capturing loose dogs, all the way up to having to deal with, what they often complain about, dealing with problems of society that society can take care of. -- that society did not take care of anna falls to them. dealing with mental health crisis, homeless, at schools. these are things they are not given the skill set to handle but are being asked to do those things. our viewers can take part in this conversation. we will open up our regular lines this morning for this conversation, meaning
republicans, your line will be (202) 748-8001, democrats, your line will be (202) 748-8000, and independence, you can call (202) 748-8002. and, we will open up a special line for law enforcement, because we want you to be involved in this conversation as well. for law enforcement only, we want to hear from you at (202) 748-8003. keep in mind, you can always text us at (202) 748-8003 as well. we are always reading on social media and on twitter @cspanwj and on facebook at facebook.com/cspan. a lot of the conversations we have heard against any type of police changing, we hear the question violent do you do about criminals? reducing place budgets, one, how are police
going to defend themselves, and how do they keep people safe with less money? guest: i think the idea is making sure we direct more of our public safety dollars to protecting people. the law enforcement of the public safety dollars to go to protect people from violent crimes. right now, a relatively small amount of what police do every day goes to protecting people from violent crimes. they do so much other stuff. that is a part of this. is refocusing the law it enforcement function so they are not doing all of the other things and they can focus on what responding to violent their skill set is, which is crimes. i think that is a big part of it. the other part is that, we can do a lot more to prevent homicides in violence then we are. dutch homicides and violence than we are. there are well researched evidence-based around violence
interruption programs that are outside of the police departments that are community-based and more based. and we can use those more expensively. that would reduce the need for for policing because it would reduce violence. host: on this show, on tuesday, international association of chiefs of police president steve discussed training standards and the need for a mandatory use of force database. here's what he said and i want you to respond to it. [recording] >> we have also had discussion for years on better police training, specifically basic police academy training. it might be interesting to your viewers that all 50 states have a law enforcement training board and they would set the standards for law enforcement in their state. they have completely different standards. we have 50 different standards for law enforcement training in our country, and we should have a national police training standard, and we have been discussing that for years.
another item part of their discussion was the fbi use of force database. we helped the fbi come up with that use of force database which tracks police use of and currently, police departments, it is voluntary for them to submit data to this database. we have been asking for that to be mandatory. every police should be required to submit their use of force data, so we really have complete data for analysis. we really don't have an idea on use of force and how frequently or infrequently it is being used. host: do you agree with those two proposals from the international association of chiefs of police, christy? guest: pretty much. one of the projects i'm involved with in the integrative policing project is with the metropolitan police department, bringing
together people who lead police academies across the country. one of the issues they talk about is the need to remake police training. one thing i focus on slightly more is the need to change the culture of police training academies, because that is where the culture of policing begins. a lot of the agencies are trying to move away from a paramilitary approach to a more collegiate approach. that is more focused on critical thinking, decision-making and wise exercise of discretion. on the point about the use of force database, in the 50 states having different standards, that is true in a piece i wrote. in a piece on peer intervention. there are some things every state should require of their officers. there will be differences from state to state but some things everyone should be required to do. like in my view be trained in intervention. as far as the use of force database, that was something
that under the obama administration, legislation that was passed that started to ramp up on and finally got the fbi database up and running, and it got completely stalled in this administration. now, are there places that are taking seriously and moving towards some of the changes you're talking about? we've heard minneapolis is working on a plan to change its policing system. other other cities, like camden, new jersey's that have done it , successfully or unsuccessfully? guest: camden, new jersey is a great success by some measures. in other respects, it is not at all what many police abolitionists are talking about. they hadw jersey was, a really terrible police department. they had a high murder rate, the police officers had no discernible impacts on that, and it was known as a brutal, corrupt police department. the
local legislature disbanded the entire department and started a new. every officer had to reapply for his or her job and had to go through the psych tests again. a new chief, a real visionary, took over and remade the whole department so today, they have a very low homicide rate. they have much more community confidence. use of force claims are down. that is a huge success story in many respects and it required a dramatic remaking of the kinds that talking about now. people are the difference is that it is still a police department and it relies on the law enforcement rubric. scott thompson himself, the former chief, said he would trade 10 officers for another boys and girls club. there is still that sense that we could be doing more to protect our public safety that would not involve law enforcement presence. i hope
that distinction make sense. host: what do you think about and what the minneapolis city council is trying to do with ending what they call their policing system? guest: i think it is an ambitious and visionary approach. i'm always worried when people take steps like that in the midst of a crisis, because i think there's a tendency to be reactive and do things before they are thought through. on the other hand, if they recognize this will take a lot of work and is not going to probably look exactly like anyone wanted to look, they can probably do a lot of good and create a system that keeps people safer and that shifts a lot of resources to the kinds of social services and programs that can prevent violence and harm we are trying to prevent. host: let's let our viewers and social media followers join the conversation. i will start with a tweet that came in from one of our social media followers with the
question for you -- a question for you. there is talk in illinois to have police licensed. i think that is the way to go. we license hairdressers, doctors, nurses, so why not police? would you be in favor of police having to get a license to do their job? guest: honestly, i was confused by that, because frankly, i thought police had to be licensed already. i know they have to be certified, so i'm not sure what the distinction is. i think the bigger issue is that we are not very good about beertifying police or should decertified. there is a provision in the justice in policing act now
going through congress that , would create a national database that if an officer is decertified, you can go to that database and know before you hire the officer again. host: let's go to our phone lines, and we start with lindsay calling from clarksville, tennessee on the democratic line. lindsay, good morning. caller: this is lindy. my dad was in the psych division over and metro nashville tennessee and you could not be a police officer unless he went through the psych division to get there. that was under governor riley. a very good man my dad. he was a republican and i am in independent and vote for the person. i'm sorry we are being ran like a force. arere a free country but we running them like the fourth unfortunately. -- the first will country but we are running the like the fourth. where they had the academy, i always heard them shooting but i
never was inside the building to hear what they got as far as education on the conduct. which i knew a lot of the departments out of the north .hen they were there i met a lot of them. and only one i couldn't talk to who was a marine. other than that, i hope they have better control over what they do in the near future. it would be good. host: go ahead and respond. guest: i think the point about not knowing what they did inside of the academy is a really important one. there is little transparency. we have little sense of what our police are being taught. one of the concerns that rises up every time we have a tragic incident like george floyd's killing is that we learn that police officers, they a lot of times scare them and some academies. it's important to teach officers what the dangers are, but some of the departments are talking
to police officers, and after observing them myself, they are that they make police officers think everyone is out to get them and don't spend enough time introducing them to communities so they know about the people there to support them. it scares officers. their attitude about their jobs and people they will be working with, before they get out of the academy. i think we should be focusing on looking at what police officers are being trained in the academy. host: let's go to henry calling from new york on the independent line. henry, good morning. good morning. my father was a new york city police officer. he passed away after he retired. as far as i know, and i've had several conversations with him, he said one of the things the police departments should have
is ongoing, psychological, emotional, mental examinations for the officers on the force. that's what you could find out who has sadistic tendencies, who has emotional troubles, who may be suicidal, those type of characteristics. those type of characteristics should be further screened throughout police departments. the demilitarizing police tactics should be removed, qualified immunity should be removed, and if a police officer is accused of a crime, it should be immediately referred to an independent investigator instead of the county or town or village where the alleged crime took place by that police officer.
host: do you agree with him, christy? caller: yes i think those are , all really great proposals. some of them go to what we call front-end approaches to reform, making sure we get the right people in the front door of policing, really important. some of them go to making sure we maintain that. one of the things we do an -- in peer intervention is that we train officers how to have those difficult conversations with other officers and go to officer wellness, where they are drinking too much or having family problems. those can be significant not only for the officer or the way the officer treats other people. if the officer does a bad act, you have to keep them accountable. there are things preventing those investigations from being as robust as they could be. let's go to carmine from
the rochelle, new york on the republican line. carmine, good morning. caller: good morning, everyone. ms. lopez, if you watched the videos of eric garner and george floyd, side-by-side, there is no difference. the only difference is that justice was not done in the case of eric garner. as an aside, something that has bothered me to this day, on the video of eric garner, when emts arrive, you see no treatment given to this unconscious man. he is either dying or already dead. i would like to know why, legally, the emts were not involved in this mix and prosecuted. thank you very much. guest: that is a really excellent point and an issue i have brought up in a number of times. one of the big problems in police legitimacy is those sorts of scenes you're talking about
even where, let's assume for the moment, although i disagree with this, that the use of force garner wasc appropriate. even if police officers use force they need to immediately, , once the situation is contained and the person is no longer a threat, they need to provide immediate medical care. so often we see them standing around, sometimes you see them interfering with emts. we see the emts taking the lead not providing care. or not providing care. that is something about the culture we have to shift, and it reflects that we have to hold officers accountable and make sure they understand your job is to help people, even if they were threatening something. that you had to use force. your job is still to save their life. it is called the sanctity of life in police force circles, and it is something that is a deep flaw in police culture right now. host: we have a comment from a social media follower i want you
to address. i'm going to read her comment to you. according to this personal and social media, demilitarizing law enforcement means militarizing the citizens. more people armed with guns for self protection because calling 911 won't do diddly. that is what you are advocating, christy lopez, whether you want to own it or not. what do you say in response? guest: i think that is a great point, and it is one of the issues i've been really telling people to focus on. i point this out in my article, and one of the things i talk about is that as we move forth the more visionary world with less reliance on law enforcement, we have to continue with form efforts for the reasons this person points out. the fallacies and placing we are seeing the structural racism and others they were not invented by police that they exist in our
society. i don't want to replace police departments that have some officers who are brutal with private bands of people carrying guns around. i think we saw with arbery that that is the kind of situation we could find ourselves in if we go there. so we have to work on all of those issues at once. that is why i most of the , abolitionists that i've talked with and whose work i read and i agree, we would still need to have state limits on who gets to use violence in order to protect host: let's go back to our phone
lines and talk to fall -- talk to paul from cleveland, ohio on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. listening to your conversation, the a lifelong, died in will, card-carrying democrat. i don't want to replace the police. as a matter fact, i believe the are serving their purpose. when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and that's the police in a nutshell. the issue is not complicated at all. if you want to clean up this mess, you start at the white house, work your way through congress and start at the local level then you don't have any problems. guest: i think that is exactly
the problem, if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. we have a lot of problems with that nail and we've created one tool, the hammer, the police. that's what people are talking about. host: let's go to stacy from dallas texas. stacy is a relative of someone in law enforcement. defend i was calling to florida law enforcement because my uncle has been in law enforcement for 30 years in dallas, texas and he's a very sweet guy. i lived here in texas for 14 years and i've seen a lot of things that have happened, but people need to learn if your door gets kicked in at midnight, who is going to come and protect you? law enforcement. if your wife is getting beaten rule and you are at work and not there to protect her, who are you going to call? law enforcement. but are not out to be bad,
some people, like the last guy said, some people do need to get checked and see what is wrong and if they are really bad corruptthat's going to the system because that one guy hurt a lot of cops. he heard a lot of cops will stop that's all i've got to say. go ahead and respond. guest: my dad is a police officer and he's been a police officer for over 20 years and he's a very sweet guy. i agree. police are doing the job we gave them. the issue is we want police to be able to respond to the kinds of incidents you are talking about, like if some one breaks into your house overnight. but you are former chief right there in dallas says we are asking police to do too much. they are being asked to do mental health problems, failed schools, dealing with dallas is loose dog problem. he was saying the same thing the abolitionists are saying.
we are asking the police to do too much and if they refocus their job on handling the kinds of things you are talking about, those sweet people in the force can stay in the force and do their work well and we would not have these unnecessary interactions with people that are really scary for a lot of people and don't need to be happening. on monday, senator majority leader mitch mcconnell spoke on the senate floor about police brutality and defended the police while criticizing efforts to defend them. here is what he said. if peaceful protesters don't want to be in with a subset of looters and riders who seek destruction, the vast majority of brave police officers cannot be lumped in with the worst examples of heinous behavior. it's that simple. but, instead, we are already seeing outlandish calls, defund the police, or abolish the
police. take root within the left-wing leadership class. the president of the city council in minneapolis has claimed she can imagine a future without police. one of her fellow councilmembers put it even more clearly -- this counsel is going to dismantle this police department. clear, but this effort is about, one of the local groups informing this has literally programs and mental health at stopping crime than our cops. dangerous, armed with guns, they say social workers should be the ones to respond to crises in our communities. work andor social
mental health, but call me old-fashioned, i think you may actually want a police officer to stop a criminal and arrest him before we try to work through his feelings. well, even if some left-wing leaders fall for this nonsense, i have a feeling the american people are too smart for that. they know what happened to george floyd is totally of a -- totally abhorrent. they also know rioting and looting is totally an acceptable. law enforcement is not something to defund or abolish. i am proud than americans across the country can protest in safety and peace. host: i'm going to assume that you disagree with his criticisms of the defund the police
movement? guest: you know, i think if we are going to go with people, with anybody who is fear mongering and has no imagination and is not interested in trying to move forward together, i think what we have seen as the current situation is not tenable, and i have more belief and more faith in police and in the public that we can come up with something much better. there are actually a lot of, there is a lot of research that shows in different circumstances yes, community groups are better at preventing crime than police. communities are better at preventing crime than police. that does not mean in some circumstances, you are not going to need and want law enforcement, whatever you call them, to respond to your crime. no one is saying that. so i think it is just really disappointing that we have so many leaders that just would like to be fear mongers rather than come together and work out this difficult problem. host: let's go to wane, calling
from reidsville, george on the republican line. go ahead. caller: yes, hello. how are you this morning? host: just fine. go ahead. caller: i have a question. this lady is evidently highly educated and everything, so how do she view this edition of the people in minneapolis [inaudible] pulling law enforcement out of an area that is obviously troubled and you have armed people running around with weapons lording over the other people in the area and putting their lives in danger because who trained them to carry that weapon? guest: are we talking about the michigan state house or -- i'm not sure. host: he's already gone, so i'm not sure which situation he is talking about as well.
guest: in michigan, we saw people with weapons in the state house, and police did not do anything. nothing happened. i think that is one example of times where people are protesting and it is recognized that police can make it worse by intervening. what they should be doing is standing back to protect. that is very common, widespread training in policing that some have a hard time following. host: let's go to doubt, calling from south dakota. deb, go ahead. did i get that right? caller: yes. host: all right. go ahead. caller: i didn't call in on your law enforcement line because i'm an independent, but i am a 911 dispatcher in a very small county. i worry a little bit about some of the ideas that are being put
forth, simply because i do not think people realize there's going to have to be a timeframe to implement them. the county i work in, we have six deputies on the sheriff's department and only have 12 officers on our main police department, and that takes care of the entire county. our dispatch center dispatches all emergency services for the entire county, so i understand there is a big difference between burrell and city, but i think that people need to take that into account when they are talking about all of these grandiose ideas. i'm not saying that some of these won't work, i think they are good ideas, i think they just need to be implemented carefully and they need to realize that it needs to be done over time so you do not have a gap without proper law enforcement. guest: yeah, i agree with every word of that. your voice is an important one. you see all these called and where they should go, and you have a lot of insight -- do we
need someone with a gun and or do we need someone with training in de-escalating a mental health crisis here, if they don't have a weapon or something, right? i agree with you, that this is going to take time to do right. that is why i say we have to continue on with reforms while we are pursuing a more revisionary goal. you know as well as anyone that there are a lot of things that we have police handle that it would be better if things never got to that point and we can put in services and programs to make sure that things don't get to that point. host: let's talk about qualified immunity and what you think of it. for our viewers, here is the definition of qualified immunity, coming from the american bar association journal. they call it the doctrine that allows police to escape civil liability for violating a person's rights under section 1983 of the civil rights act when those rights are not "clearly established."
can you tell us what that is in english and your views on it? guest: what it means in english, and individual officer cannot be held liable for violating someone's constitutional rights unless there is an exact tuition in that same circuit. for example, they put -- it is kind of a joke, but if you shoot, court finds that you shot someone on a horse and that violates constitutional right, in the next case when you shot someone on a burro, you can't show it violates their rights because it is a different animal. it is sort of a material and a relevant to the distinction. i will give you an example of that. there was a case where they had a strip in the road, a car they
were pursuing, and the car went over and the supervisor told the officer to wait to go on the overpass, and the officers had no, i want to go up on the overpass and shoot up a car. the supervisor said no, don't do that. the officer did that and shot through the windshield and killed the person. even though they had this other means of stopping the car that they were just about to use. even though the supervisor had told him not to do that. the supreme court held that that was not a clearly established violation of constitutional rights, because there had not been a use of force to miller enough to that -- similar enough to that. what people are saying is yeah, officers deserve -- we need to be able to hold them accountable or they will be [inaudible] host: let's see if we can get a couple more callers and before
the end of the segment. we will start with jerry, calling from sewall, new jersey on the democratic line. jerry, good morning. caller: good morning, mrs. lopez. there's a couple of comments i want to make and then a question. what i really oppose is the fact that your groups, the groups that are out there protesting right now have a tendency to call all police and white people racist. it is a comment that has to go. you cannot lump all of these police officers as racist. they are losing their lives because of it. they are moving targets. you keep talking about, you know -- first of all, every person that got killed by a cop was committing a crime. nobody wants to talk about that. but they are criminals. and they have long records. now, i am not disagreeing that the man -- the cop that killed floyd was a disaster, but he
should have been taken out a long time ago. the democrat politicians in minneapolis, they did not remove that guy. there is a lot going on here that nobody wants to talk about. the other thing that is a disrespect to the police officers, i see pictures where the little kids are dumping water on the cops, hitting them with bricks. i am a democrat. it is a disgrace. don't be lumping it in on the cops. you have a lot of people out there that are a mess. host: so what is your question? caller: my question is, how do you correct -- host: go ahead and respond. guest: i agree with you, there is too much dehumanization and too much lumping together and stereotyping, but i think there is a responsibility on the side
of we as the public as a whole and the police to take the lead in fixing that. they are the ones with the power, the guns, the control, and it is a fact that the entire history of our entire country, people who are subject to disparate health care, horrible treatment by police, have been historically people of color. that is due in part to some officers who are in fact racist, but you are absolutely right -- the vast majority of officers are not racist. it is more about what we call structural racism, this idea that we have put into place a system that is perpetuating old injustices so that the outcomes continue to bring disproportionate harm on people of color, even though no one involved in the process might intend for that or want that to happen. those structures and those systems are what people are trying to remake when they talk about reimagining public safety.
host: let's go to bill, calling from ohio on the republican line. bill, good morning. caller: good morning. and it is phil, by the way. why don't we ever really hear the stats? we hear a lot of people talking, giving their opinion, we hear a variety of things, but we never hear the facts. i have to believe that police violence in town over the years, i have to believe that minorities have increased at all police departments. i have to believe that most city councils have increased in minority membership. as far as the cities, most of the parents are minorities as well, so my question is, where can you go to get the facts, and why don't we ever see the facts?
host: go ahead, do you have a response to that? guest: well, i think quite honestly it is on us to get the facts sometimes, from reading and consuming that search. i think it is useful. i agree that sometimes those facts are not available. for example, we do not know enough about use of force because that data is not being collected, and as one of the earlier callers noted, that is something we need to correct. it is actually true that there are more communities of color and more black people and latinx people, and in some places police shootings do go down. but as i said to the previous caller, there are these structures of institutionalized racism that even those people, even if they came in to officer came into a police department to try to prevent disparities,
racial disparities increasing, they find it hard to do because those things are baked into the structure. we have to address that and not think about what people mean to do when they are trying to be racist. host: we want to thank christy lopez for being here with us this morning and walking us through some of these issues. thank you so much for your time. guest: thanks so much. take care. >> c-span's "washington journal" -- every day, we are taking your calls live on the air on the news of the day and discuss policy issues that impact you. michael petrilli discusses his recent op-ed -- the unequal american city -- and how unequal policies impact education.
then a talk about preparation and reaction from local leaders on the rnc's decision to move the 2020 national convention to jacksonville, florida. kristin clark, president and executive director of the lawyers can for civil rights on efforts to end racial injustice and advance criminal justice reform. watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern monday morning. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets stop -- and tweets. next, the house judiciary committee holds a hearing on racial profiling and police brutality in the wake of the death of george floyd while in police custody. ,n this portion, his brother law enforcement officials, and civil rights advocates testify before the panel. >>