There’s been a spotlight on race and policing – but that isn’t because the situation gotten worse.
“Why a lot of black people have a deep suspicion, distrust, of police is not something that just happens because we see Michael Brown or we see Freddie Gray,” said Megan Ming Francis, a political science professor at the University of Washington.
“It’s a really, really long history that has placed us where we are right now.”
Francis was part of a Humanities Washington Think & Drink conversation at Naked City Brewery in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. She was joined by Seattle Police Assistant Chief Robert Merner, commander of criminal investigations, and Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, head of public affairs. Phyllis Fletcher, managing editor of the Northwest News Network, moderated the conversation.
Bias in the United States criminal justice system is well-documented. A 2014 report by the Washington D.C. non-profit The Sentencing Project came to these findings:
Whites misjudge how much crime is committed by African-Americans and Latinos.
Racial perceptions of crime have distorted the criminal justice system – and undermined public safety.
The discussion, part of an ongoing series called “Race, Place and Culture,” took place on Oct. 27. Anna Tatistcheff recorded the event.