"Let's be frank, there is a national discussion that is happening based on some high profile cases which reminds us this is an ongoing challenge for law enforcement.'' She was talking about Ferguson, Missouri, about Oklahoma, about South Carolina, about New York, and about Los Angeles of course.
She said police need to constantly work on how to be ''more efficient, more effective, better at what we do.'' She talked about instituting a new statewide training program to eliminate what academics and others in law enforcement term ''implied bias'', in other words, our built in, perhaps unconscious feelings about others that influence our behavior.
If you're a cop, that's not necessarily a good thing, it might, critics say, lead to an officer being more likely to shoot, say a person who he believes might be a criminal based on outward appearance or an officers bias. As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck put it, ''Everybody in this room has bias and you will always have bias but the point is we want police officers to free themselves from that bias when they make decisions and that takes training'' Ongoing training he said, it's not just a one time thing. He said the key word to remember is ''empathy'' for both sides, in trying to understand where the other is coming from.
LA County's newly elected Sheriff Jim McDonnel was there too, unlike Beck who spoke without notes, McDonnell carefully read a statement he prepared saying in part. "The aftermath of the events of Ferguson and in other places shows us that as far as race relations in our nation have come in the last 50 years we haven't come far enough '' Police critics will say of course that this is all a lot of talk, that sounds good but is based on a politically correct candidate trying to get publicity as she runs for Senate (though that did not come up at today's event and Harris tries to keep her campaign separate from news events, wink wink) .
Caree Harper, the outspoken attorney that represented Marlene Pinnock, the woman caught on cell phone video being beaten by a CHP officer says prosecuting cops who commit wrongdoing is a much more effective remedy to restore trust, such as what happened to Officer Michael Slager in the Walter Scott shooting in South Carolina. "There's that one phrase ' I fear for my safety' that's the get out of jail free card and here in LA that has worked consistently .
They keep killing people who are not armed and why do they do it ? Because no one is prosecuting them if someone prosecuted them. She thinks the Police Chief from South Carolina who immediately fired Slager and recommended his prosecution should run for Governor and says "Los Angeles, take note."
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