Detroit Today

Moving The National Discussion Forward After Violence in Ferguson

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Photo courtesy of Newsweek

University of Detroit Mercy Assistant Professor Erick Barnes joins Bankole for a discussion with listeners about the national conversation about public safety, law enforcement and violence after the death of Ferguson, Mo. teen Mike Brown. Now that some time has passed, Bankole revisits this conversation to discuss the bigger picture and how we can move forward as a society.

“We have to understand a video image does not always give the whole context of what’s going on,” says Barnes. Instead, “we have to look at the totality of the conditions.”

Public and private policing in the same jurisdiction can become complicated, according to Barnes. “If the community doesn’t have a viable public police department, a private police force can be effective, but we have to be careful when empowering our private police,” Barnes explains.

It’s also important for police to be present in the community in a way that is more than intervening in negative situations. Barnes says many citizens have a negative connotation associated with law enforcement and police, because the only time we really see those officials operating in the public eye is in the midst of a negative circumstance.

Callers weigh in with their questions, comments and concerns. We hear from our regular WDET callers Tom and Aaron, along with Seth from Troy, who is in the military and offers his take on the militarization of police. Seth says that while the public may fear the military-esque uniforms and equipment used by some police officers, what they are actually doing does not resemble a police militarization from his perspective and personal experience in the military.