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Police Reform: Protecting Communities of Color

Just over three years ago George Perry Floyd Jr. was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis during an arrest after a store clerk suspected that Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill.

Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene, knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd wheezed to no avail.

The incident renewed calls for police reform. However, with Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives, nothing has happened. We’ll talk about police reform with our guest, conflict resolution expert Dwayne Bryant, who's mission is to help keep communities safe from abuse.

Best-selling author Bryant founded Inner Vision International, Inc. (IVI) which provides results-oriented social emotional curricula and professional development workshops for students, parents, teachers, law enforcement, academic institutions, and corporate America.

Dwayne provides leadership, life management, and social emotional training. As a result of Dwayne’s work improving police and community relations and educating parents about the potential dangers of social media, he was awarded The FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.In the wake of the public outcry against police brutality, Dwayne created THE STOP™ series which includes an online 17-part series, The NEW Conversation – Improving Police and Community Relations™, explaining the tensions between police and Black and Brown communities.

Dwayne…welcome to our podcast. Please tell us what your work is all about.

Q. I read today that a new Justice Department report says the Minneapolis Police Department engaged in the systemic use of excessive force and discriminated against minorities for years before the Floyd killing in 2020. What needs to be done to resolve conflicts between the police and residents, particularly those in Black and Brown communities?

Q. You made the comment that electing Brandon Johnson as Chicago’s mayor “shows a turn for the better” when it comes to improving the relationships between cops and the community. Is that because he supports having more mental health workers employed within law enforcement?

Q. Last year Congress passed the Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act of 2022, requiring the Department of Justice to develop training curriculums on topics including alternatives to the use of force, de-escalation, and responding to a person in crisis. Was that a positive step and what else is needed?

Q. What is your view of the political situation in the US these days? Did actions by the Trump administration affect relationships between the community and the police?

Q. In 2021, the then Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on a mostly party-line vote passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, but it died in the evenly divided, but Democratic controlled, Senate amid opposition from Republicans. Negotiations between Republican and Democratic senators collapsed, and the bill died. The intent of the bill was to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct, improve transparency, and reform police training and policies. It was opposed by the police unions. What are your thoughts about that?

Q. One of the provisions would restrict the application of the qualified immunity doctrine for local and state officers. Can you explain what that’s all about? Should that doctrine be scrubbed?

Q. Another provision would require state and local law enforcement agencies that receive federal funding to adopt anti-discrimination policies and training programs, including those targeted at fighting racial profiling. Does that need to happen?Q. What about the bill’s mandate that federal law enforcement officers use deadly force only as a last resort and that de-escalation be attempted. Federal funding would be contingent on the adoption of such a policy. Is that needed?

Q. Tell us about The New Conversation, which you developed to reduce tensions between police and communities of color.

Q. What is the STOP program all about? How does that work? You have a book based on that, right?

Q. Your company, Vision International, Inc., has been developing results-oriented curricula and workshops for over 26 years. Tell us about that work and those workshops. What do they cover?

Q. As a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy, you are community advisor to the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Tell us about that.

Q. What strategies can cities like Chicago and Minneapolis employ to reduce excessive use of force and misconduct by police when it comes to communities of color?Q. How can people find your book and reach out to you for engagements?

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