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Amid Nationwide Unrest, Discussing How Bloomington Addresses Racial Injustice

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>>UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Production support for Noon Edition comes from Smithville; fiber internet, streaming TV, home security and automation in southern Indiana. More information at Smithville.com. And from the Bloomington Health Foundation partnering with local organizations and citizens to invest in programs that address our community's health needs. Bloomington Health Foundation, improving health and well-being takes a community. More at bloomhf.org. 

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>>BOB ZALTSBERG: This is Noon Edition on WFIU. I'm Bob Zaltsberg from WFIU WTIU News. We're recording the show remotely today to avoid the risk of spreading infection. And I'm co-hosting with William Morris who hosts WFIU Soul Kitchen. He has worked as an attorney for Indiana legal services and as a private practice attorney focusing on civil rights, which is fitting because today we're talking about recent protests and demonstrations calling for justice and police reform following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We have five guests joining us today, Well. At least four. We hope to have five. We know we're going to have Bill Vance the NAACP Monroe County branch president, Amrita Myers who is the Ruth N. Hall's Associate Professor of History and gender studies at Indiana University and she is a member of the Bloomington Black Lives Matter core council, Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff is with us. And Jeannine Bell of Indiana University Mauer School of Law professor is also here to start the program. We hope you'll be joined also by Selena Drake an organizer of today's peaceful march protests against police brutality in downtown Bloomington. You can join us on the show today If you want to send the question to news@indianapublicmedia.org. You can also follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition. Well, I appreciate everybody coming on the program today. And Jeannine Bell, I wanted to start with you I was struck by the fact that just last year you wrote a piece for a journal. And the piece was entitled "The Resistance And The Stubborn But Unsurprising Persistence Of Hate And Extremism In The United States." I wanted to talk about, you know, that, you know, the stubborn issues that we're seeing arise again today and just to have you sort of set the stage for, you know, why we're seeing so much anger and so many protests right now. 

>>JEANNINE BELL: All right, so the piece that I wrote was about hate crime, right? But the same could be said about policing because there have been calls for police reform for since the 1920s - right? - since the 1920s since the creation of professional policing in this country. There have been calls for police reform, right? And there have been decades of reforms. There has quite simply been decades of reforms, and the recent events suggest that absolutely nothing has worked. Minneapolis spent literally millions of dollars in excess of $12 million reforming the police in the wake of Philando Castile's and still we have situations that led to George Floyd's footsteps. So this is certainly another situation where police procedures remain intractable and resistant to reform. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: I'm going to turn to Amrita Meyers next. I notice that you're going to be one of the speakers today at the rally downtown, in the protest downtown. And I wonder, you know, what's your message. 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: Thank you so much for having me today. One of the things I wanted to follow up with what Professor Bell said and echo it. I'm first and foremost a scholar of slavery. And policing systems in this country actually rose up out of slavery in the system of the institution of the slave patrol. And so I think it's really important to actually remind our listeners of that history. I'm a historian first and foremost, and so I always teach that history. And I think that that's part of the problem that we're seeing here is that the intractability is the fact that policing is at its core structurally, institutionally rooted in these racist systems. And so it's very difficult to move it out of that history that when policing arose out of a structure that inherently sees black people as being either the property of white people or a threat to white people's property that it's very difficult to then all of a sudden. Tell police officers to see African-Americans as citizens in need of protection. And law enforcement unfortunately also and individuals within law enforcement also have a long history and long ties to white supremacist organizations. And those ties are also incredibly difficult to Destiny disengage from long histories with the Ku Klux Klan. We're talking sheriffs, police officers, judges, lawyers. And so these things are very, very difficult to disengage from - one of the things I'm going to be speaking about today is the fact that I believe that it's time to simply stop talking about the problems because we know what they are. And it's time to begin moving towards structural solutions. And one of the things I believe that we need to do is defund. And, in fact, today, there is a very important piece out of Los Angeles that - and this is something we've been calling for years is - right? - decarceration and defund - decarcerating, you know, United States and defunding the police state that we live in. The police would be enormous amounts of money over the last 40 years, and they've grown by leaps and bounds. They've grown exponentially, numerically. They've also become hyper-militarized in terms of their weaponry, assault vehicles right here in Bloomington the purchase of the bear cab, which $250,000. So we need to begin defunding them and then taking those funds and putting them towards things like mental health, social services and other things in terms of community policing, mediation, things that actually will help the community and out of Los Angeles to late - today, the news reports exactly that the mayor has called for moving $150 million out of the police budget and putting it towards exactly those sorts of programs. And that's what I'm going to be - one of the things I'm going to be calling for today. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. Thank you very much. I want to bring in Mike Diekhoff next, the chief of police here in Bloomington. If you could just talk about, you know, when you saw the images on TV what was going on in Minneapolis of the death of George Floyd, you know, what was going through your mind and how did you react to that? 

>>MIKE DIEKHOFF: Well, first I was horrified listening to him saying I can't breathe and having none of those police officers do anything to stop what was occurring. I am in total support of him being arrested and charged. And until we hold police officers accountable for those types of behaviors, it's going to continue. It's extremely frustrating. You know, I have been a police officer for 33 years. And when I see those types of things happen, it just - it makes me ill because, again, we're not learning from mistakes and criminal acts that are happening. And we've got to stop that behavior. And we have to change how we do things. You know, talking about the funding here in Bloomington, you know, we started our downtown resource officer program where we literally dedicate hundreds of thousands of dollars that we use in grant money to partner with social service agencies to work with us to do community policing and work to get it at root causes for some of the issues that a lot of homeless individuals are suffering from so that we can try to break that cycle of homelessness and interaction with the police. So more programs like that are definitely needed. And those are types of things that we're doing here in Bloomington. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: I want to move next to Selena Drake who just joined us. Selena, if you can unmute. We'd like to hear why you decided that you wanted to have this - organize this protest today. 

>>SELENA DRAKE: Hi, thank you for having me. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to us. But so today was - this week has been very eventful. However with that being said, when I watched the Georgia Floyd video I thought to myself I was - I don't know. That's the hardest I've ever tried watching a video, and I've seen plenty of black men. And it's sad to say but I've seen plenty of black men killed by the police. However, in this way, it was something different. It was used as me. He was there on top of him for two more minutes after he passed away. And so - after well, he was murdered. And so what I did is I just felt like I could do nothing. There was nothing I could do, especially with COVID-19. And I don't know. I just - I know there - like, there has to be something we can do. There's no way that's not an answer to this. And, like, instantly I reached out to my - on social media, I went to Twitter and I had so many people, like, supporting the idea. And I didn't think it was going to be, like, as big as it is now. However as soon as I reached out on Facebook, that's when the whole community, like, everybody within the community wanted to help. Like they reached out with masks, with clothes, with any type of supplies. We need a lot of We have a lot of restaurants downtown opening their doors for people to use the bathroom, for people to get water, coffee, as well. And I just - it's amazing how community, how the community of Bloomington came together. And I think it's beautiful because we have some aspect of IU and as well as Bloomington. It's kind of hard when things happen like this. You kind of feel disconnected from the community. But this is like the effort to come together on a monolithic topic because, like we all know, like, being a black individual nobody is even white or anything and nobody's monolithic. However when it comes to a movement, we have to have one vote. And so if we find that goal, we can essentially organize. And like Dr. Amrita said, like, we can go into the structure and create policy. We need to define the police to be honest. And, like, Chief Diekhoff said they have plenty of programs when you start allocating our money to that as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. Thank you. 

>>SELENA DRAKE: (Unintelligible). 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yeah, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. So I want to go to Brother William. Brother William Morris who does the Soul Kitchen on WFIU. And I'm pleased to have him join me today as a co-host. And I know that you have some questions. So go ahead. 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Bob, thank you so much. And thank you for inviting me to join you. As I was making some notes on today's show, I was - my mind went back to the late great artist Marvin Gaye and his song "What's Going On." And I would just - I use his lyrics as a sort of a prophetic introduction to my question. Crime is increasing, trigger happy policing, panic spreading. God knows where we're heading. It makes me want to holler some times and throw up both my hands. And it's not from "What's Going On" it's a song called "The Inner City Blues." And that's 50 years ago. And it made me think of I'm sure a colleague of Professor Bell and Professor Myers, Khalil Muhammad. I'm writing about the criminalization of black people that started in the '80s, '70s, and I think this is some of what Dr. Meyers was talking about. And I like for her to sort of maybe fill in a little bit more of that because it seems to me that educating white people about the culture and the history of black people is part of what needs to be done. Would you agree or do you have something to all speak to on that? 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: Is that question directed towards me? 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Well, it's either Dr. Bell or Dr. Meyers or anyone that wants to speak toward that, this education of our culture. And I want to add one more thing. I think many, many white people are not really aware of black history, black culture. I think sometimes they're not aware that. Black fathers and mothers have to sit down with their children and prepare them to live in white society. I mean, I'm 60 years old. When I was a child, my parents had to sit me down and prepare me for when I was going to be called a nigger when I was to be treated unequally. And they had to prepare me for what to say and how to act. And I know that there are parents today that have to do that when police stop them and tell them what to do and how to hold their hands and things like that. And I think there was a education gap that maybe needs to be bridged. And I wonder if you have any thoughts about that. This is for Dr. Myers or Dr. Bell or anyone who wants to join you. 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: Sure. Go ahead, Jeannie, you go first and then I'll follow up. 

>>JEANNINE BELL: Yeah, I agree in the sense that probably most whites think that we - that upper middle class black people, for instance, don't have to have conversations with respect to their children about the police. They don't know about this. I don't know how much change we're going to get by showing that because I think the education that needs to happen is about police culture and about policing. I think that very few Americans understand that fundamentally policing has terrible problems and they need to learn about those not just for the safety of people who are black but for their own children's safety. And if I had to choose one bit of education that I was going to give, if I couldn't tell them everything, I would say let's talk about police culture and what's going on inside police departments and the ways that police are being socialized with respect to citizens both black and white. So that's the message that I have as a police scholar. 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: So I don't disagree with what Professor Bell just said about policing per say. I mean, again, I'm a scholar of African-American history and black women's history in particular and women's - black women's history and slavery. I do think that educating people of all backgrounds about African-American history is critically important. And I always tell my students that African-American history is first and foremost American history. And it's shocking to me how many people of all backgrounds, including even black students, are unaware and unfamiliar with so many parts of black history. Because simply by virtue of growing up here, many of our of our children of all backgrounds just simply assume that they know American history. And they really don't. And that's really a failure of the K through 12 system writ large. And I'm not denigrating our teachers. It's not their fault. It's really a systemic issue because they are forced to teach to the test. And it doesn't leave them the ability to be able to teach a lot of the material that they need to be teaching. And so I have students across the board of all backgrounds who don't know their history even though they think they know it. And I have students every year who come up to me angry, white students, black students, brown students, you name it angry how come I've never been taught this before. And so I do think education is incredibly important. I wouldn't have become an educator if I didn't believe that, and I wouldn't be teaching the classes I teach if I don't think that that's important and necessary. So I would add that piece. I think that in terms of policing I think that Professor Bell is absolutely right. I think that the hyper-militarization of the police. I think that the way that police are behaving across the country right now from sea to St. Louis to Minneapolis to Louisville, the number of shooting deaths that we've seen in Louisville in the last few weeks, the way that they are acting towards peaceful protesters, the way that they're destroying medical supplies, water bottles. I think that we are - I think that it's very important to show the way that the police are willing to behave towards citizens regardless of race, class, color is really, really important. Those things, those dynamics cut across race and class and gender. And I think that the militarization and the lack of respect that police forces have for citizens across the country regardless the background that needs to be explicitly shown and is actually being played out on the national scale on TV screens across the country. 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Can I follow up on that very quickly? 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yeah, I think Selena - Selena wants to add something real quick, and then you go ahead. 

>>SELENA DRAKE: Hi. Thank you. I'm so sorry I cut out earlier, but I agree with what was said. But I do believe that there's this big disconnect within the black community to the police. Like, that relationship has already been deteriorated since, you know, since police were formed after slavery to protect the white man's land. And so now we look at it today and as Dr. (unintelligible) said earlier it's ingrained in the system. Like, this is what it is. And so I think now I think to create a better relationship or community or just build on that. I think we need to have police officers, like, just not even the police officers just sending stuff out to the community on your rights. A lot of people don't know their rights and I don't think it's OK for police to take advantage of people's rights because just because they don't know them. And as the police officer - as the police, I think it's their job to kind of inform as well as just get that community engagement. I know I was speaking with Officer Gil from the LAPD, and they were talking about how they implement this not training but they are they have to do a program where they inform citizens on their rights. It could be like a little paper that you know. Like, this is what you do if you stop. And so I think that's a big thing as well. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Brother William. 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Yeah, just a short follow up. Part of the thing I was speaking about education arose out of some things that have been done in through in South Africa, through the efforts of Desmond Tutu with reconciliation. How do we create areas and spaces for reconciliation? And it seems as if it's like Miss (unintelligible) said the big word is how do we listen to each other. That's one thought that I'd like the people, the folks to follow up on. And a second thought is really sort of not related. But it's a book that I became aware of in the last few days. A book called "The Rise Of The Warrior Cop." And this warrior cop apparently is a policeman who becomes military like. And that this is a big part of the problem that American policemen have started to sort of resemble ground troops. And I think we saw that very clearly what happened in Washington D.C. when President Trump went over to St. John's and other places, of course, as well. And so I think those are two things I'd like to ask about. I'd like to ask Chief Diekhoff and Bill Vance if they could speak to, especially Chief Diekhoff, about the militarization of police, which I think has created a lot of this problem. And then everybody in general about the need to be able to listen to each other. 

>>MIKE DIEKHOFF: Thank you. So I would agree that - I mean, what we're seeing playing out on television with riot, squads and everything that's happening. It does look like, you know, it's the military coming in and doing things and what happened in Washington with the clearing of the park and things like that. Those types of activities really do drive home the, you know, the image of the military. You know, locally in Bloomington, you know, there was a lot of discussion about two years ago about the armored rescue vehicle that, you know, we listen to that. It is a piece of equipment that unfortunately is necessary to keep people safe, and we only use it in very high-risk situations. So transitioning to listening, I totally agree. I think there needs to be a lot more discussions, a lot more listening. The communication is so important, especially for me and for the police to hear from citizens that we serve, hearing what they say, hearing how they feel. That's how we affect change. That's how we work to make things better. So I definitely would encourage and participate in those activities in the future and as we move forward. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: If Diekhoff if I could follow up before the rest get a chance at William Morris's question, we had a question come in from one of our listeners. It says as Bloomington students and residents gather to exercise their First Amendment rights it might help ease anxieties of the PPD explains in some detail the department - I don't know on how much detail you can go into today - but the department's training and standards for de-escalation techniques and policies regarding the use of body cam equipment and interactions with the public. 

>>MIKE DIEKHOFF: Sure so. So we frequently have demonstrations and protest in Bloomington. We tend to take a hands-off approach to it. Our - the way we usually do those is we try to make sure that anyone who's protesting and exercising their constitutional rights is safe. We try to make sure because what happens frequently is cars get introduced into the crowds. Usually it's because someone takes a wrong turn and they're in the middle of it and they panic and they don't know what to do. So one of the things that we'll be doing today and we've done in the past as we try to make sure we shut down the streets so that we don't get vehicles mixing with people marching and things like that. That's what we're going to do today is we are going to make sure that that cars don't get in the mix with the crowds. We're going to let people march, you know, in the streets. We're going to let them, you know - it's supposed to go to the courthouse where there's going to be some speeches made. We're going to make sure that area is safe so that people can protest and do so safely. As for body cams, all of our officers have body cameras. We've had them for several years. Anytime they are interacting with anybody, they are to be activated so that they're recording that interaction. That's our policy. Our officers very much appreciate the body cameras. They have them on whenever they're interacting with somebody. And if there's ever any issues week, we will pull that body cam footage and review it to make sure that all the policies were followed and that the officers did everything right. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. William Morris, do you want to reiterate that question and get some other people involved here? 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Yes. And the idea with that question was just to speak to where do we go from here. I know that we have a lot of anger and anxiety and fear and we have COVID-19 and we have all of these injustices being done to black and brown people. And it's just a big mess in some ways. And I know that Dr. Meyers has talked about doing some sort of reform with police. And I was wondering if other people better here on the show have an idea how do we go forward, right? And I was listening to the mayor of Columbia, South Carolina - excuse me - an African-American who's talking about having discussions at the local state, federal level but also as I was sort of hinting before speaking to each other about our cultures, our cultures as Americans, our cultures as black people, our cultures as brown people. I'm thinking a Bob Marley song that reminds us that all black people are black survivors. We have come from a history where, you know, we've had to go to segregated armies and segregated schools and segregated restaurants and segregation and travel and public systems. And so there's a history. And I think that so many people see the murder of George Floyd. And they see it as a singular activity, a singular event. And there's a - this goes all the way back to Emmett Till and way before that and this thing about education seems to be so critical. And I'm not trying to keep pounding on that but this idea of cultural understanding and listening. And so I guess I'm just sort of getting back to that a little bit. Where do we go from here? 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Let's hear from Bill Vance. We haven't heard from Bill yet. 

>>WILLIAM VANCE: Hello, everyone. I listened to everything and took a few notes of my own, and the - one of the professors brought up the fact that we have a vision problem dating back to slavery because African-Americans were once slaves we're always viewed as slaves. And even today. So the vision of African-Americans by law enforcement continues to go back to that fact. A better history structure or instruction, I'm on board with that. There wouldn't be a need for a Black History Month if in fact we had better instructions in our school system. So it's always been said that if you don't know the history you'll probably repeat the same mistakes. So better history instruction. The police, it was brought up that we need to have better - they need better instruction or more instruction. Excuse me. I served 10 years on the Board of Public Safety. And you know where the police chief did call. And the Fire Chief Moore have served. And I know that those guys have a lot of instruction, that's for sure, a lot of instruction. And also they discipline their officers and firefighters. But the one thing I think they're missing is what I call, I think the church would call it soul instruction. How to think, you know, how to relax after they get off the job, how to, you know, how to calm themselves when they're dealing with someone that is not cooperating. You know, I know that these police officers go through a lot of stress throughout the day, particularly in times of turmoil. The George Floyd case, I remember when I was 24 years old. And Rodney King, the controversy surrounding that. And I remember looking at that and, you know, as a 24-year-old man who I didn't think I knew much. But I remember that - I remember thinking, why don't we just let the NAACP handle it? Maybe we can get some worthwhile legislation out of this. And then everything escalated and somebody needed a color TV and this and that, that the NAACP legislation cannot provide. So it seems to me that we're going through the same thing again. My son's 24 now. And here we have the, you know, these latest incidents. And all this looting we're, you know, we're destroying our neighborhoods again. And so it's repeated itself. Here's this history repeating itself. We didn't learn from that back then. So I agree with the chief. He said he's horrified. He's frustrated. I would add surprised. I was surprised at all of this went on. I wouldn't have thought that, you know, here we are in a health crisis and this kind of thing goes on. And I just wonder what was going through that police officer's mind when he's got several police officers around him and this guy is no way he could hurt him. Why do you want to throw him to the ground and put your knee on his neck? And I didn't understand Eric Garner. You know, I mean, the guy - why do you need to choke the guy? And when he tells you his can't breathe, can't you stop choking just cuff him and get him in the car and take him to, you know, the facility? So I don't understand. You know what - you know, were these guys under some kind of stress? Were they talk back to? What went on that cause these police officers to react like they did? So.. 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: May I please interject when you're done. 

>>WILLIAM VANCE: Yes. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Yes. Absolutely. Let me give our phone numbers again really quickly or not our phone numbers but how to get a hold of us. If you have questions or you have comments that you want to make, you can send them to us - new@indianapublicmedia.org and you can also follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition. So Bill Vance, answer you finished? 

>>WILLIAM VANCE: Yes. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK, so who wanted to jump in there next? 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: Oh, Amrita. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK, go right ahead. 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: Well, but I think this really gets back to the whole heart of the matter that I was talking about, which is the fact that we can - people like to talk all day about bad apples and, you know, the point that I can really make is that folks want to talk about the fruit of the tree or they want to talk about having sensitivity training and diversity workshops. If you look at what happened in Minneapolis, several of the officers on the scene were not white. And you talk about being horrified or shocked or confused about why these things are happening. So this is an institutional problem. It's a structural problem. Policing is at its core historically a structurally institutionally racist institution. It cannot be solved with diversity and sensitivity workshops and training. We must address this with defunding, and that is why that - it's as simple as that. I mean, it's just I'm tired of seeing people bleed out on the concrete, and I'm tired of people only saying black lives matter when people are dead. It's time to address. We know what the problems are. And we know where it comes from. And it's time to actually do something about it. I want to see guns taken out of the hands of IU PD. Why do our college cops carry guns? It's unnecessary. I want to see both the IU PD cadets, and I would like to see PD officers on a regular basis actually take college classes in African-American history and Latino Studies and Asian-American history on an annual basis. I think that would do far more good than sensitivity training ever would, actual real college classes from people like myself and Professor Bell, Ellen Wu, Michelle Moyer, Mervyn Morris Mormon. I can give you a list, and I've suggested this before at meeting after meeting with both IU officials and your predecessor Chief Diekhoff. OK, there are - but I want guns out of the hands of the IU PD. I want actual - I want the BPD and the IU cadets to take actual college level classes, real classes where there are - but and I - really I think that bear cat could be sold and those, that $250,000 could start to fund actual community programs to bring about healing. Forget truth and reconciliation, justice and reparations. There are many things that we can do to begin things here locally on the ground. Federal, yes. But we have to start on at our community because this is an issue of structural racism and we must begin here on the ground. We know why these things are happening. Let's start doing something to change it. 

>>JEANNINE BELL: All right. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Jeannine. 

>>JEANNINE BELL: Yeah, I want to jump in there. First, on the issue, I want to speak to a couple of things empirically that Professor Meyers mentioned. First this issue of training, you know, Minneapolis had the best, most expensive, you know, at a tune of maybe $4 million implicit bias training and still we see actions like, you know, the death of Mr. Floyd, right? So I'm not going to locate change, the types of change that needs to happen in implicit bias training, right? What we need to do is decrease police contact. And this is something that should be attractive. Citizen Police contact, it should be attractive to police departments, especially in light of calls for defunding police departments, right? If you have to - if you have less, it will be a whole lot easier if you have to do less. And departments around the country have increased the relationship of trust felt in the black community by decreasing police contact between citizens in situations where it doesn't need to happen. There are many things that police are doing that simply don't need to be done. And things that quite simply others are better situated to do. So those are those are ways that we could - that police could deal with this issue of defunding, right? When they're defunding, let social workers do what social workers are better at. And moreover the police research suggests that the vast majority of police officers they don't like being social workers. That's not what they want to be doing. They would rather someone else interact with the homeless, quite frankly. 

>>MIKE DIEKHOFF: Can I jump in here, Bob? 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Sure. 

>>MIKE DIEKHOFF: So I would agree with some of what's been said. You know, what has happened over the last several years is I think you'll see and it just happened in New York City. People call the police for everything, you know? We get - we don't get these - we used to get calls because people would have bats in their house. That's not the job of the police. There's a lot of things that are not the job of police that the police gets called to. But people don't know who else to call so they call the police, which I totally agree that there are lots of things out there that we should not be handling. Some of the things that we have done in Bloomington to kind of change that. We're one of the first departments that I know of in the state to hire a full-time social worker. We did that last year. That is - we have seen the benefits of that. We've hired - we have two neighborhood resource specialists. And the goal for that is that they interact with the neighborhoods because a lot of times people who live in neighborhoods have minor nuisance issues and they call the police for everything. So our thought was if we had someone that wasn't a police officer that had training in that, you know, Just how to communicate and how to conflict resolution they could deal with those types of calls. Both those programs that we have started here have been quite successful. You know, you can do - we do all kinds of training. We do de-escalation training. We do implicit bias training. We do critical incident training with regards to mental health. We do all of that, but, again, I liked what Dr. Meyers said with regard to education. We hire a lot of college educated police officers. We get a lot of people who have college degrees, but I think she's right and we need to teach more history. Somebody said it earlier - you know, if you don't know history, you're bound to repeat it. And I - that's what's happening. And so we're doing some of those things locally already where we're trying not to respond to calls. I - there's a standing order with supervisors - when they hear a call come in that isn't anything that the police should be doing, they disregard that call and tell the caller, you need to find another way to deal with it because this is not a police issue for us to deal with. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: So a couple of things have come up. We've gotten lots of a lot of comments and questions. I think this - somebody mentioned this acronym and wanted it to be addressed, and I think it's sort of been addressed a little bit. ACAB - we'll call it all cops are bad. And - which - you know, and its implication. This is a person who's a white woman. She says - and she just realized that people of color enter any interaction knowing that - or being worried that violence can ensue regardless of their own actions. I'm just going to mention that was a comment that we got. If anybody wants to respond to it, you can. But we also have some questions for Selena in particular about today's events. How do you participate in protests if you're high risk for COVID is one question. And the second one is related to that. He heard - or this person heard that, you know, no cars would be allowed in the march and this person says he doesn't feel safe because of COVID and they had hoped to decorate cars and follow. I'm assuming, Chief Diekhoff, that's not going to be allowed. 

>>MIKE DIEKHOFF: I think what's going to happen is - from what I've heard, there will be cars that are going to follow the march from Dunn Meadow downtown, but they - they're not going to be able to get to the square to drive around the square because there'll be too many people. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. 

>>SELENA DRAKE: Right. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: Selena, go ahead. 

>>SELENA DRAKE: Yeah. So for those with high risk - compromised immune systems, children - we're actually encouraging others to, like, go to the parking lots behind Noodles and Company and Qdoba on Kirk - well, not on Kirkwood but on Indiana. And we're asking - we're going to have volunteers decorate your car. And then afterwards we're going to line up and, yes, cars are going to follow the protesters. But after - well after - yeah, they're going to follow the marchers. And after we're asking all of them to either - you know, that's the end of it or, if they want to stay and, like, park their car and join the protest. But for the drivers, we're - like, that'll be all. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: OK. All right. William Morris, we have about seven minutes to go in the program. What else do you have? 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Bob, thank you. And I wanted to say thank you to everybody for joining this because I know just about everybody in the show here today and I know everybody just does so much for our community and I know I, for one, greatly appreciate all that they do. I have a question for Dr. Myers just as a - sort of a point of illumination. I know we're going to run out of time and maybe don't have enough time to cover this, but Dr. Myers can you speak to - I know you're - you do a lot of work and represent Black Lives Matter. Just for the benefit of our listeners - and I know there's going to be a lot of signs today about Black Lives Matter, including one that I'm going to be carrying - can you speak to Black Lives Matter as your understanding of the goals and the role of Black Lives Matter in our national and local discussions today? 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: That's a broad question that you asked. 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Yes, it is. Yes - yeah. And maybe you can handle it in about three or four minutes. I don't know. We don't have much time and I'm sorry, but I thought maybe - and I - let me give you a little background. I was listening to James Brown's "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud" the other day just preparing for my show and I thought, well, there's a lot of of what he's trying to say at that time in the message of Black Lives Matter, and maybe I just wanted to ask you is - yes, so can you speak to Black Lives Matter a little just without - how it speaks to what we're trying to do in our national and statewide local discussion? 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: Well, one of the things I've been - the song that's been playing through my head the most the last few weeks is Tracy Chapman's "Talking About a Revolution." 

>>WILLIAM MORRIS: Amen. Amen. Me too. 

>>AMRITA CHAKRABARTI MYERS: That's really what I've been - that's what's been playing through my head and that's what I was listening to yesterday as I thought about the remarks I'm going to make later today, and especially because it talking - it talks a lot about poor people going to rise up and take their share. And I was thinking a lot about - is this really just a moment or is it a movement? And is it really bigger than a movement, is this protest - are these uprisings or are we really on the brink of a revolution? Because, to me, this feels different. But what I've been frustrated - I mean, you know, Black Lives Matter was started by black women - black queer women. And like so many movements that we've seen throughout generations - decades - ages - centuries, black women have been really at the root - at the forefront and behind so many, but they haven't been given their due because this isn't just a country that is inherently racist, it's also one that's very patriarchal and misogynistic. And so when the narrative has been written, black women have been written out not just because they're black but because they're women. And - but Black Lives Matter was started by black queer women. And it's important for me to say this on the air that it's not just - it's all Black Lives Matter. Because just the other day a black trans woman was beaten badly by a mob in Minneapolis, and it breaks my heart because we do not talk about the fact that black trans women are being assaulted and murdered all over this country and that the average life expectancy for black trans women in this nation is 35 years of age. We have a problem in our own communities with acknowledging so many of our own people, and that is a shame. Because if we truly are acknowledging that Black Lives Matter, then we have to stand together and say that all black lives matter. Heterosexual, homosexual, transgender, gay, straight, cis - I do not care. I am here for all of us. And this, to me - this, to me, is what we need to be thinking about - is that it's - are people - are just - are people just here to say black lives matter when someone's bleeding out on the concrete? Or are you here to say black lives matter every single day when I'm being harassed or being - micro-regressions are happening on a day-to-day basis? And are we, as a black community, here for every black life or only certain black lives that make us feel comfortable? So my challenge to all the listeners out there - to the white listeners - are you just here for Black Lives Matter when you see another snuff film? Because that's what George Floyd's video was, was a snuff film. And I don't watch brothers and sisters bleeding out. I don't watch those videos because I don't need to take in that trauma. But are you just here for Black Lives Matter when you see us dying or are you here to help us survive, thrive and live? And for black folks out there, are you here for every black life or only the ones that make you feel comfortable? Because I ain't here for that. I'm here for every black life all day everyday, and I'm here for us to live and to survive and thrive. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. We just have a couple of minutes to go. I want to bring Selena back on to talk about the events of today. Just what time are people meeting and what do you hope to accomplish? What's your major goal? And, you know, where do you hope we go from here? 

>>SELENA DRAKE: Hi. Thank you. So we are asking volunteers to come at 1:00, and between 1:00 to 3:00 people can show up and create posters, decorate their cars, listen to music. And so at 3:00 we're going to begin with the speakers and between 3:00 to 3:30, that's when the speakers will speak. We are also having student speakers as well. And at 3:30 to 4:00, that's when we're going to march. We'll get our march ready and we're going to march on down 7th and Indiana and go to the courthouse. However, we're going to turn on 6th - we're going to turn on 7th and Washington - the marchers. We're going to go up 6th to the courthouse. And then the cars will just go straight from 7th and Washington - just go straight out of there. And so after that we'll have a couple more speakers at the courthouse and we'll have an art station and a memorial station on each side. And our purpose is just to bring the community together - the IU students as well as the black community. And I know there are - there is no single, like, black - like, there's no monolithic of black. However we need to align our goals and come together and figure out how we're going to deal with this. Because, yeah, we can say the police did this, the police did that and - but - and we can get mad and we can protest, but what's going to come after that? We're trying to get people's anger to turn into passion and use it to go vote. Vote for your local representatives. Vote for your congressmen. Because at the end of the day, they're the one making these decisions, not the police officers. 

>>BOB ZALTSBERG: All right. Brother William, we are out of time. I want to thank you for being here with us today. I want to thank all of our guests. You guys did a great job. I know we don't have enough time to get everybody's - all of everybody's points in, but I think you did a great job of representing where - how you feel about these matters. I want to thank Bill Vance from the NAACP Monroe County Branch, Amrita Myers from Indiana University and a member of the Black Lives - Bloomington Black Lives Matter core council, Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff, Jeannine Bell from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and Selena Drake an organizer of today's march and protest against police brutality. Thank you very much to William Morris, as I said, and for our producers today, Benthe Bouthier and - who else do we have today? We have Kathy Knapp, we have John Bailey. Engineers Mike Stone - Matt Stonecypher and Mike Paskash. For Bill - for William Morris, I'm Bob Zaltsberg. Thanks a lot for listening to NOON EDITION. 

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>>UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: NOON EDITION is a production of WFIU Public Radio. A podcast of this program is available at wfiu.org. Production support for NOON EDITION (inaudible) fiber internet, streaming TV, home security and automation in southern Indiana. More information at smithville.com. And from the Bloomington Health Foundation - partnering with local organizations and citizens to invest in programs that address our community's health needs. Bloomington Health Foundation - improving health and well-being takes a community. More at bloomhf.org. 

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statehouse

(IPB News)

Last month in Minneapolis, police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year old black man. 

Floyd was pulled from his vehicle by one of the officers at the scene. Former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, pinned Floyd down, pressing him to the ground for several minutes.

Security footage and witness video provide documentation of these events. Floyd is heard over the recordings repeatedly saying that he couldn’t breathe, but Chauvin did not let him up.

There were three other officers on the scene, none of whom changed their positions while this happened.

Floyd died in the officers’ custody.

Since then, demonstrations and protests calling for an end to police brutality against Black Americans have spread across the country.

This week, President Donald Trump said in an announcement that governors should deploy the National Guard to clear violent protests.

Tear gas and rubber bullets have been used by police on protesters in multiple cities.  

Protests have spanned all week in Indianapolis, lasting into the night.

Indianapolis MayorJoe Hogsett announced a curfew lasting from Monday night to Tuesday morning this week, which will be reinstated over the weekend.

On Monday, June 1, Gov. Eric Holcomb spoke about recent protests in Indiana and racial injustice.

He says he’s working on a “to-do list” for addressing systemic racism and injustice in Indiana.

Bloomington protesters met downtown that same day, joining in the nationwide call for justice and an end to police brutality.  

A peaceful protest will take place Friday, June 5, starting in Dunn Meadow on IU’s campus. The event has a speaker line-up of community leaders.

This week, we’re talking about recent protests and demonstrations and how to prevent further violence against the black community.

You can follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition or join us on the air by calling in at 812-855-0811 or toll-free at 1-877-285-9348. You can also send us questions for the show at news@indianapublicmedia.org.

Note-This week of our guests and hosts will participate remotely to avoid risk of spreading infection. Because of this we will not be able to take callers live on-air. 

Our Guests

William Vance, NAACP Monroe County Branch president 

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor, History and Gender Studies
Indiana University, Bloomington- Black Lives Matter core council

Mike Diekhoff, Bloomington Police Department chief

Jeannine Bell, Richard S. Melvin professor of law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Selena Drake, Enough: June 5 Peaceful March/Protest Against Police Brutality organizer

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