Policing and the Politics of Reform

Nan Barber, Convenor League of Women Voters of Muncie/Delaware County introduces Dr. Max Felker-Kantor, author of Policing Los Angeles and visiting Associate Professor at Ball State University History Department

LWVMuncieDelaware.org

Policing Los Angeles, Race, Resistance and the Rise of the LAPD, by Dr. Max Felker-Kantor

Dr. Felker-Kantor presenting information on the early days of Los Angeles, and the reasons for his interest in studying the subject.

www.maxfelkerkantor.com

Coalition Against Police Abuse, CAPA

CAPA was a citizens coalition which followed police cars at night in order to serve as witnesses for those who were pulled over by them.

LWV of Muncie/Delaware County presented 

Prison Reform : The Carceral State 

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 at the Kennedy Library 

About 25 Muncie residents turned out to hear speaker Max Felker-Kantor, Ph.D. He is a visiting Assistant Professor of History at Ball State University and author of Policing Los Angeles. 

Dr. Felker-Kantor explained his research into the path which led to the Rodney King riots, and the course taken by officials to attempt to remedy the situation. According to his research, the community is stuck in a cycle of lack of oversight of the police department, which has been tasked with policing itself, and riots from citizens affected by that lack of oversight. 

He began with a brief history of the culture of Los Angeles, which was nearly 100% white in its early days. There were many immigrants in Los Angeles, but those immigrants were also white. When a large number of black citizens moved into L. A., the police were tasked with enforcing segregation. When segregation ended, the police still upheld the cultural norms of white culture over those of minority cultures. Defining “good citizens” by the standards of white culture caused a friction between the police and any minority culture which behaved within the law but outside of those cultural norms.  

An “Us vs. Them” attitude evolved in the L. A. police department which sometimes resulted in pitting officers against community. This attitude  explains why simply hiring officers within a neighborhood to police that same neighborhood was not an effective solution to issues like police brutality and harassment. 

 

Teresa Basey 
Member, League of Women Voters of Muncie/Delaware County 


Policing Los Angeles author, Max Felker-Kantor, Ph.D.

The solution suggested by Professor Felker-Kantor was a complex and nuanced society-wide reformation. Most importantly, we need a police department that answers to a citizen commission in order to be held accountable for corruption, abuse, and harassment policies.

Other issues include a shift in media coverage that better represents reality, as opposed to sensationalism, and a shift in the majority culture’s use of the police department to force minority cultures to behave within the majority culture’s norms. 
 

The McCone Commission

After the Frye brothers and their mother were arrested by police, rumors spread that a pregnant woman was kicked by police and the neighborhood, fed up with other incidents of police brutality, struck out against the L.A. police. The McCone Commission was tasked with understanding what caused the worst riot in L.A. history, until Rodney King, and suggesting a path forward to resolving the issues.

Calls for L.A. Chief of police Daryl Gates to step down

During the Rodney King riots protestors demanded that Chief Gates finally step down, after years of supplying his own employment evaluations.

Folks mingling before the presentation

I encourage you to visit his website at https://www.maxfelkerkantor.com to find out more about his research, and to purchase his book Policing Los Angeles, where he explains his findings in depth. 

 

Revive Civility: Our Democracy Depends on It…  

A LEAGUE DISCUSSION ACROSS THE NATION 

In today’s political climate and culture, it may feel like civility is becoming the exception instead of the rule. As the debate on issues becomes more strident, it becomes harder to identify common ground and shared solutions. 

As a trusted, nonpartisan organization, the League’s collective voice has the potential to “cut through the noise.” However, how our message on issues is delivered can have as much impact as the message itself.  As we know, relationships are critical. Trust-building and team-work are essential because people must come together to fix problems and create compromises on issues. There must be mutual respect between participants to enhance strong dialogue.  

Civil discourse, debating (not arguing), and listening to the other side are critical to building trust.  The League has opened a national discussion to promote civil discourse. 

Civil discourse is discourse that supports, rather than undermines, the societal good. It demands that democratic participants respect each other, even when that respect is hard to give or to earn.

~Tolerance.org

 

SEE MORE DETAILS ON
LWVwise.org — Civil Discourse Space

On March 4th, Pearce Godwin

~ a moderate conservative and Executive Director of the National Conversation Project, joined the LWV civility call to address participants’ hopes for engaging conservatives.   Godwin is also author of the brief “Field Playbook on Engaging Conservatives. 

Link to National Conversation Project

On April 9th, Ted Celeste

Democrat, former Ohio State Representative and NICD Director of State Programs, and Tom Niehaus, Republican, former President of the Ohio Senate and Next Gen Facilitator join the conversation to share their experience of working
across the legislative aisle and training policy makers through a workshop called “Building Trust through Civil Discourse.”

On May 14th, Liz Joyner

from Village Square will join the video call to continue the conversation about Welcoming Conservatives.

 

Muncie NAACP

Joe Anderson, NAACP President Muncie Branch, Left
Julie Mason, LWV of Muncie/Delaware Observer Corp Leader
George Foley, NAACP Vice President Muncie Branch, Right

LINKS:

Muncie NAACP Website

Facebook RSVP to Rally

Rallying for the Hate Crime Bill

May 18 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Steps of Muncie City Hall

The NAACP Muncie Branch will have a Hate Crime Bill Rally from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. on the steps of City Hall on High Street. This is a State Initiative and every NAACP branch in the state of Indiana will have a Rally in their city at the same date and time.

State Rep. Sue Errington will speak along with our Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler about the new Hate Crime Bill. Please come out and support and help us Rally.

Goal:

The Indiana State Conference, including all of the units therein, is advocating for the amendment of the Hate Crime Bill that was signed into law in 2019.

The amendment must be comprehensive and include the classes that are in the 2019 law but also must include the omitted classes of gender, gender identity, age and sex.

Target:

The Governor and Indiana General Assembly especially our respective local legislators.

 

Green New Deal Town Hall meetings will occur all over the country, beginning this month.  

The nearest one to Muncie will be in Indianapolis:

 

Sat, June 1 at 2:30pm

International Marketplace

3769 Commercial Drive (west side of Indy, in Speedway)

Host Contact Info: Ron Mitchell, 317-641-3341, indyrmitch1@gmail.com

THE GREEN NEW DEAL

You probably have heard about the Green New Deal (GND) but if you are like me, you do not know what exactly it means?  Wikipedia defines the Green New Deal as a proposed stimulus program that aims to address climate change and economic inequality.

Groups and individuals across the country are doing teach-ins, town halls, and other programs to help us understand the GND’s potential.  Locally, Muncie Resists is hosting a program on April 27 (see flyer). There will also be a program in Indianapolis in June.

Indianapolis:  Green New Deal Town Hall

June 01, 2019, 2:30 – 4:30 PM

International Marketplace• 3769 Commercial Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46214

Host contact info: Ron Mitchell, indyrmitch1@gmail.com, (317) 641-3341

Purpose:  To inform, motivate, and bring about actions to save our planet and species within a very short time.  Join us at this Town Hall to hear leaders in our community share about how the Green New Deal is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime to invest in the American people, and what that looks like for us.

Report from recent meetings of Muncie Community Schools Board of Trustees:


Non-college career opportunities

The Board spends the first part of one meeting a month with presentations by education related groups.  Several presentations have focused on non-college opportunities for Muncie students.  One is through Vincennes University, with programs complementing the Career Center and Ivy Tech options.  Another one is through Sustainable Muncie and its Purdue polytechnic programs such as robotics, quality control engineering and computerized engineering. 

(Front Row l-r) James Williams, Brittany Bales, Jim Lowe, Dave Heeter (Back Row l-r) Keith O’Neal, Mark Ervin, WaTasha Barnes Griffin

There are not enough properly trained Muncie students to meet local employment demands at companies like Progressive Rail, Muncie Power Products, Magma and others. 

While there are county district students in the Sustainable Muncie program, there are no Central students.  The Board conducted a lengthy discussion about how to make more students and families aware of these opportunities.  A gateway program is needed at the Middle Schools as well as career discussion in elementary grades.

 Work must start soon if these programs and opportunities are to be included in the MCS plan presented to the State of Indiana by June 2020.

 

Leadership Search 

             Board members are attending many meetings related to the district’s leadership search.  In early January they extended the timeline for proposals to encourage a wider range of search companies to apply.  The Board will hold a leadership retreat in the near future for discussion with an outside consultant.

CHS Graduation Rate

             A year ago, Central High School (CHS) reported a dismal 78.42 graduation rate when a state audit revealed inadequate documentation for 61 students who left for various reasons.  With renewed attention to documentation, the 2018 rate improved to 94.1%.  Chris Walker, CHS principal said, “Our rate will always be lower because we include special needs students who receive certificates of completion rather than the 40 credit general diploma.”

Building upkeep and repairs

             Board member Jim Lowe is applying his BSU facilities expertise to the MCS buildings.  He proposes a spreadsheet for each building listing both short and long-term projects.  He shared the BSU spreadsheet for Worthen Arena as an example. 

 

Bea Sousa
LWV Observer