Baton Rouge, LA –In response to heightened tensions between law enforcement and the Baton Rouge community, the Dialogue on Race Louisiana (DORLA) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have come together to launch a discussion series designed to build trust between police and members of our community. The Dialogue on Race and Policing (the Dialogue) will meet on three consecutive Fridays – June 1, June 8 and June 15 — at the LSU Museum of Art.
Maxine Crump, the president and CEO of the Dialogue on Race Louisianawill facilitate discussions among a carefully selected cross-section of law enforcement leaders, social justice activists and civil rights leaders, academic experts, and other public officials from diverse backgrounds. These conversations are designed to shed light on the history and impact of racialized policing in Baton Rouge, and on how such policing practices and poor police response to public grievances have negatively shaped public opinion about the legitimacy of police actions.
The Lawyers’ Committee and the Dialogue on Race collaborated with the LSU Law Center’s George W. and Jean H. Pugh Institute for Justice and the Southern University Law Center to develop this Dialogue series. By creating an open, safe place for participants of different backgrounds to discuss race, the series will set a positive example that can unite Baton Rouge residents and address long-held grievances in the administration of criminal justice and improve community-police relations.
“The ability of law enforcement to fulfill their primary public safety function is interwoven within their ability to establish strong bonds of trust and cooperation with the people they serve,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “When a community does not trust its police force and law enforcement loses legitimacy in the eyes of the people, police cannot successfully investigate, solve or prevent crime.
“This Dialogue on Race and Policing series is an important first step toward recognizing that all members of the Baton Rouge community share a common interest in and responsibility for creating a criminal justice system that is fair, bias-free and that reflects the highest standards of procedural justice and accountability,” noted Chris Tyson, East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority president and CEO.
“Dialogue is a powerful tool for rethinking what is possible in our society,” Maxine Crump added.
At the conclusion of the Dialogue, participants will develop a set of recommendations to improve interactions between police and all residents of Baton Rouge and further enhance public safety.