UWS hosts virtual law and justice dialogue on Breonna Taylor | www.WDIO.com

UWS hosts virtual law and justice dialogue on Breonna Taylor

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: October 21, 2020 08:32 PM

Breonna Taylor's death has ignited months of protests with people calling for justice across the country. On Wednesday a virtual panel organized by UWS legal studies and criminal justice staff and faculty touched on her death and gave insight on the criminal justice system in the country.

The panel featured UWS students, Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander and Duluth Human Rights Officer Carl Crawford. 

UWS legal studies and criminal justice program coordinator Allison Willingham says Breonna Taylor's death is an example of the systemic and historical issues of racial bias among police departments across the country.

"Individuals who have contact with the police if they are people of color, they will disproportionately experience the use of force compared to white citizens," said Willingham.

Willingham also mentioned that they are increasingly seeing more women, particularly women of color, have violent contact with the police. She went over the Louisville Metro Police Department's history with misconduct.

"This isn't a one off incident. This isn't one thing that went wrong. This is truly a police department that serves a very large community, but has had problem after problem after problem and then every one of those problems, there seems to be racial bias," said Willingham.

"The problems we're having with police departments all over America is that we're not speaking the same language and we're not on the same page," said Crawford.

Crawford said the way black people are treated and criminalized in the legal system is wrong and needs to stop.

"I can tell you as an African heritage man, I am hurting, I am in pain. I can't do this any more. I can't bear witness to another black person being shot and killed by those who are there to protect us," said Crawford.

Alexander went over different alternatives that could have been done in Breonna's case.

"Why not then conduct a traffic stop away from the home, get the person detained peacefully that way, and then execute the warrant," said Alexander. "We shouldn't be the people that are creating the situation that allows the deadly force, we should be mitigating that."

He also said deadly force should be a last resort. He discussed the importance of de-escalation and professional communication training.

Crawford said we can't be silent about this anymore and need to take action so this doesn’t continue to happen.

"We have to do better, we need to have those mistakes stop costing lives. Breonna Taylor is the one African heritage woman named that we know. There are many African American women that have been killed at the hands of police," said Crawford.


Alejandra Palacios

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