Washington D.C. Town Hall: Policing and Training

November 1, 2016
National Press Club

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Image of street signs Guns Violence America

The Initiative for Studying Gun Violence and Trauma is a national task force focused on expanding awareness, discourse, and public policy on gun violence trauma. Assembled under the aegis of the University of California, Irvine School of Law’s Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, the task force features a diverse collaboration of lawyers, scholars, physicians, psychologists, and advocates committed to initiating, sustaining, and acting upon this critical discourse.

This town hall meeting will feature a discussion on policing, police violence, and training. It will highlight the privatization of law enforcement agencies, looking particularly at the fiscal structures that underlie, and at times demand, high risk policing practices.

The state of gun violence in the United States has reached a critical condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2000 and 2014 alone, firearms accounted for nearly 470,000 fatalities. “Homicide firearm” ranked as the second leading cause of all violence-related deaths during this 14-year interval. In 2014, firearm homicide accounted for 46% of violence-related fatalities in children age 5-9, and 38.5% of violence-related fatalities in youths age 15-24.

For many years, African Americans have complained of unwarranted stops by police; the humiliation of stop and frisk policies that overwhelming produce no evidence of illegal activity, and brutality at the hands of law enforcement.  Recently, dash camera videos from police cruisers and civilian audio and image recordings capture the shooting deaths of unarmed African American men and women, confirming long-complained about practices that undermine trust and build resentment between police and the communities they serve.   These chilling videos have brought about a new conversation, but will they produce change?  And while gun violence happens to be chief among the various ways in which impacted communities raise concerns about law enforcement, recordings also show banned choke holds, tasing, and cruel and unusual physical punishments of un-convicted and even uncharged civilians.

Gun violence across the nation, including deaths of unarmed people of color by law enforcement results in physical and psychological trauma that too frequently is ignored.  In the wake of tragic encounters with law enforcement, communities across the nation are demanding answers and articulating frustration and mistrust in the institutions designed to serve and protect them.  Is reform possible given the fiscal structures that underlie high risk policing and if so, how and what are the barriers?  This Town Hall meeting will take up these issues and more.

More about the the Initiative for Studying Gun Violence and Trauma >

Confirmed Participants

  • Image of Michele Goodwin

    Michele Goodwin

    UC Irvine School of Law
    Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Director, Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
    Professor Goodwin holds faculty appointments in Public Health; Criminology, Law and Society; and Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is a leading voice on the incarceration of women and girls and the trauma that results from policing and mass incarceration. Her research on these issues have resulted in meetings at the White House, a summit on women and mass incarceration, a congressional briefing, and work with women and girls most impacted by policing and violence. Her publications on these issues can be read in the Huffington Post, Texas Law Review, and California Law Review among others.  She is the co-chair of the taskforce investigating gun violence and trauma.

  • Image of Dr. George W. Woods, Jr.

    Dr. George W. Woods, Jr.

    George Woods, MD, F.A.P.A. is a practicing neuropsychiatrist and internationally known mental health expert. Over the past several decades, Dr. Woods has consulted on and testified in numerous high profile civil and criminal cases. He is currently President of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health. Since 2002, he has taught a course in forensic psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and he is a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He has published extensively on topics including neurobehavioral assessment, cultural factors in assessing the mentally disordered, trauma, financial fraud, and intellectual disability. Dr. Woods has also consulted with forensic systems internationally, including Malawi, The Hague, Uganda, Kenya, Zanzibar, Senegal, Tanzania, Italy, and Japan.
  • Image of Judge Hatchett

    Judge Glenda Hatchett (ret.)

    Judge Glenda A. Hatchett has dedicated over 30 years to serving the needs of people and the community, as a corporate lawyer, judge, author, and advocate. She is currently representing Philando Castille’s family. Judge Hatchett served eight years as judge of Fulton County Georgia Juvenile Court. She is Georgia’s first African American chief presiding judge of a state court and was the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She developed partnerships with community organizations and businesses, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, The Urban League, and others, and helped found the Truancy Intervention Project. Her many awards include the Roscoe Pound Award, the highest award for “Outstanding Work in Criminal Justice” from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award.

  • Image of Camiella Williams

    Camiella Williams

    Camiella Williams has lost 23 loved ones to gun violence. She is now a Regional Organizing Fellow at Generation Progress and an advocate for gun violence prevention in Chicago. She is a member of Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s Violence Prevention Task Force, the Executive Director for Drew Sidora's Dreamakers Charity and Youth Director of the Blair Holt Memorial Foundation. She also has her own radio show on rejoice 102.3 FM, “Talk with Camiella Williams and Martinez Sutton.” 

  • Image of Robert Bennett

    Robert Bennett, Esq.

    Robert Bennett is a trial lawyer and has been one for more than 30 years. He has successfully tried to verdict scores of matters, including cases involving civil rights law and police misconduct, auto and truck accident cases, product liability cases, and commercial disputes of all types, more often on behalf of the plaintiff or claimant. He has been the lead trial lawyer in a number of high profile cases in the last 20 years, including the Abbey Taylor kiddie pool, wrongful death case, the police shooting case involving Duy Ngo, the mechanical asphyxiation of David Cornelius Smith, the Rickia Russell “flash-bang” grenade case, and the recent Koochiching County jail suicide action. He is a perennial “Super Lawyer” and was selected by Minnesota Lawyer as one of their “Attorneys of the Year” for 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014.

  • Image of Jack Cole

    Jack Cole

    Jack Cole knows about the “war on drugs” from several perspectives. He retired as a Detective Lieutenant after a 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police—14 in narcotics, mostly as an undercover officer. His investigations spanned cases from street drug users to international “billion-dollar” drug trafficking organizations. Jack ended his undercover career living nearly two years in Boston and New York City, posing as a fugitive drug dealer wanted for murder, while tracking members of a terrorist organization that robbed banks, planted bombs in corporate headquarters, court-houses, police stations, and airplanes and ultimately murdered a New Jersey State Trooper. Jack is a founding member and for eight years was executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international organization representing cops, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens, and supporters from 86 countries, who know a system of legalized regulation of all drugs will remove the violence which is the result of drug prohibition. He is an international speaker.
  • Image of Dr. Linda Olson Peebles

    The Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles

    The Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles was called to join the ministry team of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington in May 2001.  She now serves as its Minister of Faith in Action. Linda is a supporter of families and children, and has been a leader for education reform, women's health rights, peace education, and sexuality education.  Nationally, Rev. Peebles has been a leader on anti-racism work, serving on LREDA, the Liberal Religious Education Association, in a number of roles.  She was instrumental in founding and supporting the growth of a broad based power organization working for justice for poor and immigrant people in Northern Virginia – VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement).  She has led in the work of anti-racism, serving on the national Journey Towards Wholeness Transformation Team.  Her seminary, her professional organizations, and her denomination have all called on her to help nurture excellence in religious leadership.  

  • Image of Nardyne Jefferies

    Nardyne Jefferies

    Nardyne Jefferies is the Founder of Stop Killing Innocent People (S.K.I.P.) and mother of Brishell Jones, who was murdered in the Nation’s Capital by a group of young males with 3 different caliber weapons, one an AK-47, on March 30, 2010 on South Capitol Street, SE, along with 4 other youth, and where 6 others were injured, including her best friend. Nardyne later worked along with The Honorable David Catania, Council Member-At-Large,  and the Council of the District of Columbia, to create “SOUTH CAPITOL STREET MEMORIAL AMENDMENT ACT OF 2012,” which was passed unanimously by the City Council on March 20, 2012.  The act creates a comprehensive youth behavioral health infrastructure in the District of Columbia.