Members of the Ypsilanti community talk with city officials about living in fear of the police and how we can work together to make things better

Following are my extremely rough, admittedly incomplete notes on tonight’s meeting of the Ypsilanti Police-Community Relations / Black Lives Matter Joint Task Force. If you were also in the audience, and have something to add, please leave a comment. And, of course, feel free to weigh in on whatever you read below. As you’ll soon see, there’s quite here that’s worthy of further discussion.

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THE INTRODUCTION.

It was a full house. Almost every seat in the Ypsi High auditorium was taken. The parking lot was full. People in the audience clapped loudly when it was mentioned from the stage that this was the most well attended meeting of the task force to date.

City Council’s Nicole Brown started things off by offering her perspective on the “systematic oppression” faced by black members of our society, who, she reminded us, were more likely to be pulled over, shot, and imprisoned. She then explained that, since the task force was called together in September, 2015, they’d been focused on three things; streamlining the citizen complaint process, assessing the diversity, implicit bias and mental health training made available to officers in the Ypsilanti Police Department, and researching other cities where Citizen Review Boards had been put in place to oversee police activities. Brown tells us that, thanks to their work, it’s now easier to file an official complaint with the police department, both online, and through a number of designated locations around town, where people don’t have to encounter police officers. She then called on Police Chief Tony DeGiusti to tell us about officer training, body cameras and the Eastern Washtenaw Safety Alliance.

Chief DeGuisti, after thanking people for showing up and engaging in the conversation, introduced people to the concept of the Eastern Washtenaw Safety Alliance, which was established in 2013, after the murder of an EMU student, in order to better coordinate the activities of our several local law enforcement agencies. [Essentially the agreement erased boundaries, so that officers could move somewhat freely through the area.] As for body cameras, DeGuisti said that they aren’t the panacea that we’d hoped, as they don’t offer a cinematic view of what our officers are seeing, but he says they’re a useful tool. The department, he says, currently has 15, but they’re applying for grants that would make them available to every officer. On the subject of training, DeGuisti says that training itself isn’t enough. He says you need to also have an “organizational culture” that stresses all people be treated with “dignity and respect.” He assures us that the department has “core values” that make the training sound. As for the training, he says it starts at the Police Academy, where recruits go through 594 hours of training across 70 different topic areas. This, he tells us, includes 8 hours of “cultural awareness” training. He said this training continues once officers join the department, where they’e given additional training in legal procedures, firearms, first aid, policy, cultural awareness, various special topics, alzheimers awareness, interviewing techniques, domestic violence awareness, etc. This September, he says, they will start implicit bias training, and training as to how to deal with mentally impaired individuals. All officers will receive 8 hours of training as part of this course, and their CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) officers will receive up to 40 hours of training. “We’re always looking to get better,” he tells us.

City Council Member Anne Brown talks about the research done to date on the establishment of a Citizen Review Board. She tells us that they’ve looked at current practices, local and national Black Lives Matter recommendations, and what’s already been done in communities like Portland, Flint, Rochester, San Francisco, Tucson and Detroit. And they intend to present their best practices for community oversight by the end of this month, she says. She tells us that their report will include a list of items of concern, as well as a 9 point implementation plan.

City Council Member Dan Vogt was then asked to say a few words about the Water Street Debt Reduction Millage, which will go before voters on August 2. He explained that, if we wanted to maintain City srvices, we’d pass it. Otherwise, he said, we may have to further cut our police force. And, he added, this would likely mean fewer female officers and officers of color, as they’re often the first to go when benefits and the likes are cut, given that they’re in high demand, and can easily move to other departments. [During the community feedback segment of the program, a young man tells the members of Council that they were wrong to use this as an opportunity to sell the millage.]

Sheriff Jerry Clayton come to the stage to talk about the bigger picture. He says he’s a student of history, and warns that we’re doomed to repeat the past if we don’t learn from it. “Events continue to set us back,” he says, referencing the events of this past week. But, the tells us, we can move forward. Police officers, he says, can both be effective and treat people with dignity and respect. “We ultimately get out power and authority from you,” he says. He then tells us that his department is conducting an extensive review of their “use of force” procedures. [Internally, he tells us, they call these “subject control” procedures.] And, he says, they’re increasing their training in de-escalation and implicit bias, and dealing with individuals suffering from mental health issues. Not only does his department have the resources to do these things, he tells us, but they’re making this training available to other local forces as well. In conclusion, he says, “We’re not perfect, but we will own up to it, and we will fix it.” “We might be back here next year,” he says, warning everyone that this may well be a long process, “but we need to keep working together.”

PERSONAL STORIES OF INTERACTIONS WITH POLICE.

Throughout the evening, several people walked to the front of the auditorium to share their personal stories of interactions with police officers in the area. These are just a few examples of what was said.

A woman told the story of her 13 year old son, who the police rolled up next to while he was waiting for his school bus. They claimed that a neighbor had called to report a suspicious individual with a backpack. Then, without calling her, the police asked him to get into their car and drove him to school. “How can I feel safe when my son looks suspicious on his own street gets picked up by the police?”, she says. And how is it, she wants to know, that the police can just pick up her son and put him in a squad car without contacting her? In a world where young black men never come home after being picked up by the police, she wants to know how this could happen.

A number of women speak about raising young black men, and the fear they have that one day these young men may find themselves alone with a police officer, who might escalate a situation to the point of tragedy. One woman tells us that she won’t allow her 20 year old brother to drive, for fear that he may be pulled over. She tells us that she drives him everywhere. Another woman tells us that she called her son on the day of the Dallas shootings, and told her son to stay inside, worried that police officers may be looking for retribution. This, they tell us, is the reality of the world they live in.

A 70 year old man tells of something that happened to him 6 years ago, an interaction with police that left him upside down and naked in a ditch for an hour. He told us that he’d served 20 years in the military without a scratch, but this exchange sent him to the VA, suffering from post traumatic stress. He still gets upset today when he thinks about it, he tell us, with a quiver in his voice. And this, he says, is the first time he’s ever told anyone about it. He says he requested the dash cam footage from the police car, only to be told that it didn’t exist. When he finally did receive it, she said, it came in two parts. One was 30 seconds long. The other was less than a minute. He says he’s told his grandsons, if they’re stopped, to put their hands behind their heads and not engage. When you engage, he says, things can escalate, and you can wind up dead.

A young man stood up to say that he’s had a lot of experiences with local police, and none of it has been positive. “I hate to say it,” he said, “but it is what it is.” He went on to tell us how he’d been tricked by the police in his youth. “What time is it?”, he says they’d asked him. And, when he reached into his pocket to pull out his phone, they’d ask what he was reaching for, using it as an excuse to question him. “I don’t trust you at all,” he says to the officers in the audience. “Nothing you have even done has ever helped me. When shots are fired, you aren’t there to protect me. When a fight breaks out, though, you’re there to arrest me.”

Nathan Phillips, who is Native American, stood up to share his experience of having been accosted by white EMU students. He says when he asked the police for help, they didn’t do anything. Later, though, when he himself was accused of stealing a lawnmower by three white kids, the police arrested him and held him for nine hours. Now, he says, they’re asking him to plead guilty to assaulting an officer, something that he says he surely did not do.

A woman talks about an incident involving her nephew, who was accused of stealing something while at a white girl’s party. She said that she went with her nephew to the police department when they heard about the accusation, but were met with both disrespect and hostility. She ends by saying that nothing has changed since the murder of Emmett Till. And, she adds, “Thank God for cell phones.” [This was said more than once over the course of the evening, as many people thanked cell phones and social media for making this conversation possible.]

A former teacher in Willow Run Schools tells of a time a few years ago, during Heritage Fest, when she saw officers pushing young people, about 12 to 15 years of age, out of the event. They pushed 50 to 100 kids away from the festival, she said. They were all black. At the same time, however, she notices that 5 to 10 unattended white kids were still on the festival grounds. None of them were pushed out, she said. “I didn’t know who to call,” she said. “Who do we call when we see these injustices?”

A man named Peter Brown says that, this past June, as he was waiting for AAA to come and get his car out of the mud, a police officer rolled up on him. The officer, he says, conducted a field sobriety test, which he passed. In spite of this, he says the officer waved off the tow truck when it arrived to help him, saying “This is a police matter.” He was then taken into custody. When he asked why, he says, he was not given an answer. He was taken to the basement of the Ypsilanti Police Department, and eventually taken to St. Joe’s, where he was compelled to give blood for a drug test. He asked if he could make a call, and he was told no. He was eventually released, although the police refused to return his ID. He was also told that, if he returned, he would be arrested for trespassing. By this point several hours had passed and his car had been towed. And, when he tried to retrieve it, he couldn’t, as he didn’t have his ID. He says he’s yet to be charged, though. And he now has a bill from St. Joe’s for $100, as well as $1,300 in legal fees. “How do I get my money?”, he asked the people sitting at the table in the front of the room, walking toward them with his hands up.

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COMMENTS FOM THE AUDIENCE.

Speaking of the cultural competency of our local officers, a man asks, “Where do our officers live? They should live next-door.” He then goes on to ask of the task force members at the table, “Where is the response?” It would be easy, he says, to set up a coffee meeting with citizens and post the details online. Instead, he says, “It’s like 1960.”

Several people ask why our local officers don’t get involved more in the community; visiting schools, playing ball with kids, attending church functions.

A man who says he used to be a corrections officer asks about de-escalation. There’s nothing wrong, he says, with officers wanting to make it home to their families after a shift, “but people shouldn’t have to die.”

A female fire fighter asked if these incidents of police violence might be tied to the fact that police officers are now often patrolling on their own due to budget cuts. She wonders if such things would happen as often with another set of eyes. She also talked from experience about the intensity of the work, and the need for paid time off and having internal people that officers can talk with. After dealing with things like dead kids and accident scenes, she says, “You can feel internal rage.” Things can trigger you, she says. And “you need time to get your head straight.” And you need a culture in which officers feel as though they can request such services.

There were quite a few comments about the mental health of officers. Someone asked if there are anger management classes available for our officers. Someone, after sharing the story of an unstable relative who became an officer, implored people to stop racist, violent people from getting badges.

A number of people talked about the power of love and community. “The only way to end brutality is through unity and love,” someone says.

More than a few people question our priorities. “We spend more on prisons than on schools in this country,” someone says, adding that young people gravitate toward gangs for a reason. “We have money to keep us in jail,” this person says, “but not out of it.” We need to reconsider our priorities, people argue. We need to spend more on education, affordable youth sports, and any number of other things.

A woman, who was herself a local officer at one time, asks about the human resources people within our police departments. Training is good, she says, “but you can’t train an individual to not be racist.” She goes on to say, “You cannot train an officer to not be sexist.” If you hire police officers who think that way, she says, it will carry over into their job. “How can we hire officers that live their lives with integrity?”, she asks. “How do you find them? Where are they?”

“Sentencing disparities” and “over policing” are discussed. It’s also pointed out how insanely high the incarceration rate is in America.

“Children shouldn’t be scared when a police car pulls up,” someone says.

Someone suggests that we monitor the Facebook accounts of our police officers, as well as giving them frequent mental health checks.

A woman asks about the cultural competency training noted by the Police Chief. She asks, “How transparent are you?” She wants to know who teaches it, what the curriculum consists of, and to what extend officers actually have to participate. “Can they just sit through it?”, she asks.

“We cannot let the media separate us,” someone says. Someone else adds, that us black and white folks share a lot more in common than either of us with the 1% that runs our country.

Someone proposes that we think big, like we did after the Great Depression, when we started the Civilian Conservation Corps, putting people to work and teaching them skills in the process.

A women says that she intends to put her license, registration and a letter stating “I refuse to talk with the police” in her car. If she’s pulled over, she says, she’ll just pass it through the window. “When I pass that through the wondow, I don’t have to talk with them, right?”, she asks Chief DeGuisti. He responds by saying, “You’re not compelled to speak.” She encourages others to do the same. If you don’t talk with them, she says, things are less likely to escalate. Just accept the ticket and fight it later in court, she says.

Anthony Morgan, after saying that he’s met with everyone around the table, says, “Nothing has come of this.” This is just a “group therapy session,” he tells us. While the police are not our enemies, he says, they’re limited. “Their only job is to follow orders and not be critical thinkers,” he adds. “We need to either inspire or coerce them, and we have done neither. They haven’t done anything, but we haven’t forced them to.” If something positive had come of this task force, he tells us, we would have heard about it.

A man, talking of the deadly attack agains police officers in Dallas, warns, “The chickens have come home to roost, and copycats are coming. They’re coming.” This, he implies, is the only way things are going to change.

A man who runs a basketball program for kids asks why the police never come by to help out. “Kids look at what you do, not what you say,” he says. He goes on to say, “I’m not depending on the police. I’m depending on you, and you, and you,” pointing around the audience. “Let’s take care of it ourselves”, he says, suggesting that the community would be better off if they didn’t rely on the police. Later in the evening, a white woman in the audience asks, “What can we do to help you?” Someone in the audience responds, “Stop calling the cops, so that we can live.”

Someone says that white people need to put themselves in uncomfortable situations, standing up to the racists they know, and fighting for what’s right. “You need to give up some of your priviledge and get uncomfortable,” someone says. “We’re uncomfortable every day.”

A woman from a racially mixed family shares her experience. “When I go places with my white family,” she says, “I’m dealt with differently than when I’m with my black family.”

Officers need to get over their fear, someone says. They need to “walk the beat for hundreds of hours,” and they need to know the local kids. They need to know the difference between a bad kid and a good kid that’s just acting up, she says. As for what white people can to do help the cause, she says, “Get to know some black people. And don’t listen the media. Don’t let them divide us.” Another woman adds, “Make some black friends… a lot of them… and not just the ones in the academy, but some that cuss a lot, and shit.”

A young woman from Kalamazoo says, “The system isn’t broken. It’s working like it’s supposed to. The police are the enforcement arm of Capitalism.” On the subject of Capitalism, someone else adds, “Our value isn’t tied to our productivity.” She says people still deserve to live, even if we don’t see productivity. This person also says that segregation is the norm. “Ann Arbor is getting richer,” she says, “while gutting Ypsilanti.”

[I had to leave a little before 10:00 PM, as I wanted to make it home in time to wish my daughter a happy 12th birthday before she went to sleep, so this is as far as I got. If you stayed later, please let us know what happened… Oh, and we live in a really amazing little community. I’m constantly impressed by the people who call this place home. They’re funny, bright, inquisitive and passionate. And they care deeply about equality.]

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91 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    You didn’t mention Anthony Morgan’s scream of delight when he told the audience that Ralph Lange would be leaving office.

  2. Posted July 12, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I read things like this and think that I might never return the the US again.

    Obviously, heavy handed policing is a problem that some localities need to deal with. Obviously. I can’t speak to the extent of the problem in Ypsilanti, however.

    But, things like this:

    “A young woman from Kalamazoo says, “The system isn’t broken. It’s working like it’s supposed to. The police are the enforcement arm of Capitalism.” On the subject of Capitalism, someone else adds, “Our value isn’t tied to our productivity.” She says people still deserve to live, even if we don’t see productivity. This person also says that segregation is the norm. “Ann Arbor is getting richer,” she says, “while gutting Ypsilanti.””

    Really? Is wealth *really* being sucked out of Ypsilanti to make Ann Arbor richer? Do people really believe this?

  3. kjc
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    oh peter, no matter the subject, or its import, you find a way to grind the same old axe. it’s so narcissistic. come back to the States any time. you’ll fit right in.

  4. Eel
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    OK, I laughed at this. “Make some black friends… a lot of them… and not just the ones in the academy, but some that cuss a lot, and shit.”

  5. M
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately it seems like we only make progress immediately after weeks like this past one. We need to find a way to keep the momentum going. We can’t just make progress every time a new video emerges of a young black man being killed by the police.

  6. Jesse Miller
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Thank you. I’m especially glad you got a photo of Pete. He’s a coworker of mine and I didn’t get my camera out in time to snap a pic

  7. facebook stalker
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Mark Maynard: “The next time we have a public meeting about policing and race relations, we should put out word of Pokemon sightings at the venue. Maybe that’ll get more young people involved. “

  8. Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Well, kjc, fuck you, too.

    So on the one hand people with very real complaints about local policing are given a forum to air their grievances. A place where their voice can be heard in an area where they have few places to turn.

    On the other, loonies attempt to hijack the event to publicly spew their own conspiracy theories and batshit political ideas on the populace.

    So tell me who exactly is being narcissistic?

    You seem like an awful individual, klc. I hope I never have the misery of meeting you in person. But relax, I will be dead soon and you won’t have to put up with my comments again.

  9. Fenny Leins
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The task force used this forum as a way to hear from the community what priorities on which they will focus their pursuit. It went until about 10:30 and she mentioned at the close when the task force meets but by then most people had left. They should have had that posted the whole time so people would be able to attend the follow up

  10. Dan
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I agree with Peter. kjc is an awful individual.

    I also agree with him that there is a very strange hatred of Ann Arbor from Ypsilantians and a weird sense of “they are screwing us over.”

    Your elected leaders are the ones that keep screwing you over.

  11. Nick Azzaro
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Tracked this little guy all the way to the high school auditorium!

    http://imgur.com/BVaB7Z9

  12. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Peter, Yes, wealth *is* being sucked out of Ypsilanti in order to make Ann Arbor richer or at least Ann Arbor getting richer is the outcome. We have a system in Michigan where we segregate poverty as much as possible and that is reflected in things like property values (which make up the bulk of middle class wealth).

  13. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It sounds like it was a productive meeting. I am glad people got to air their grievances. I feel that shining a light on any problems is really the way to go. So yes, thank goodness for cell phone cameras and social media!

  14. Denise Heberle
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The demonstration I attended in Ypsi Sunday was a sweet thing. At least 100 people, babies, moms, dads, dogs, students, young, old, black, white …. The three police departments behaved well, redirecting traffic instead of arresting or intimidating people, and at the midpoint, supplying water (from the world’s worst company, but one thing at a time) and generally doing their job deftly and with respect. I had a deeply moving experience with a tall, fierce-looking young man who teared up as we talked about the hurt and fear and that he needed to TALK about it – we held each other tight, heart-to-heart.

  15. Meta
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    “Holocaust Museum to visitors: Please stop catching Pokemon here”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/07/12/holocaust-museum-to-visitors-please-stop-catching-pokemon-here/

  16. Andrew J Clock
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Glad to see council isn’t above using such a forum to do more vote-for-the-millage-or-else fear mongering.

  17. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I had no interest in going because I knew it would just be a bitch fest with most of participants piling on the police and using them as a punching bag for every societal and personal grievance imaginable. The recap makes that clear: all the public speakers during public comment had their day to share their “evil cop” story they’d been nursing for most of their lives, and stoked fears and paranoia of not wanting to leave the house, let the kids out, go out in public because of (mostly) what they are seeing on the tv news. We’re in the midst of something akin to mass hysteria right now, and a lot of it …not all…but much…is generated from the black community and a media more than complicit in blowing every single incident out of proportion or spotlight troubled communities (Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Chicago) as indicative of the nation as a whole. Just a bitchfest here once the admirable Sheriff Clayton stepped down. Also, not surprsing, very little mention of the gang killings in Ypsi last year…wonder why?

  18. Benjamin Weatherston
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    As your photo clearly shows, one of the final comments mentioned the unwillingness of the officer onstage to look at the gentleman who approached with his hands up. She said he missed an important opportunity to shake his hand and treat him like an equal.

  19. General Demetrious
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    What was the Black/White mix of the audience, percentage-wise? As a White Ypsilantian, I find some of these stories completely irrelevant to my life, and contrary to my experience.

    I have been desperately poor in my life, and I know that affects ones attitude towards police. Issues from no auto insurance, to speeding fall heavily on poor people. It can make you mad. I know that if drug sales and consumption are going on, that is another reason to dislike the police.

    As far as I know, Ypsilanti police have not killed anyone in over 20 years. They deal with assholes with guns monthly.

  20. Murph
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    General D – an ypsilanti police officer shot and killed an unarmed young black man, David Ware, in early 2007. The officer was part of a LAWNET “controlled buy” in a parking lot near Huron and Forest, and Ware, who was suspected to be dealing, was shot in the back as he ran from the buy.

    http://markmaynard.com/2007/01/accused-drug-dealer-killed-by-police-in-ypsilanti/

  21. Holly
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Oh, anon. Thanks for that really coherent statement on an event you didn’t even attend.

  22. Black...all day, every day!
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “I find these stories completely irrelevant to my life and contrary to my experience”.

    This just about sums up the problem in one sentence! It doesn’t affect you therefore you don’t care and it probably doesn’t even exist anyway…how convenient and luxurious for you! It must be nice!

    People don’t dislike police, they dislike being profiled, disrespected and dehumanized by police or anyone for that matter. If you’re an officer that is not profiling, direspecting or dehumanizing the citizens in the city where you work, great, but you don’t get a pat on the back simply for NOT doing those things! That’s called being a decent human being!

  23. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I’m the same Anonymous earlier who gave a statement about the event recap just a few comments back. I can see from Holly’s sarcastic response that my views were taken exactly as I thought they might be, and this is just one more reason why I didn;t attend the event: the guilting. I see it every day in these countless “what every white person needs to understand about [insert pet cause such as Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice…etc.]” which all take a page from the same counterproductive playbook as the comment at last night’s that goes:

    “Someone says that white people need to put themselves in uncomfortable situations, standing up to the racists they know, and fighting for what’s right. “You need to give up some of your priviledge and get uncomfortable,” someone says. “We’re uncomfortable every day.”

    That is, the strategy that somehow by disturbing people, by making people uncomfortable, by rattling their daily routines (such as closing down a freeway, or screaming in a library, or marching incessantly every day in the same areas, with the same messages and disturbance strategy…), somehow by doing this Black Lives Matter and their allies will cause the slumbering giant of white consciousness…i.e. guilt…into action and thus gain an ally by annoying the fuck out of that ally.

    I’m sorry. Real life just doesn’t work that way. You’ll end annoying the shit out of the ally…as many white people who …noticably…stay silent on these matters…are illustrating quite clearly by their continued silence and apathy.

    Most of this will blow over. It’s mass hysteria and a media generated maelstrom of uncomfortable tension stoked by disenfrancished attention seekers who feel left out of American Society. I pity them, but i won’t be joining their cause or participating in their events.

  24. Holly
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Listen, Anon – can I call you Anon? Since you are hiding behind anonymity, I like to at least try and make things a little more personal.

    So, Anon – I am a white person who sat in that auditorium for about two and a half hours last night to hear stories from members of my community – to hear their comments, their expressions of fear, sadness, anger – all of it. Was it uncomfortable sometimes? Yep, it sure was.

    White people often feel like if something makes them uncomfortable then it’s bad. But let me assure you, there was no guilting going on last night. There was no “WHITE PEOPLE ARE AWFUL AND MAKE EVERYTHING TERRIBLE.” There were people sharing their experiences which demonstrate an implicit bias against citizens by law enforcement based on race. There were people saying please help us, and here is how.

    If white people like me (and you? I don’t know and won’t assume) have to sometimes feel uncomfortable to be a better ally, then we really need to learn how to sit with that feeling and manage it ourselves. I know being annoyed is awful, but I think being killed for having brown skin is worse. I mean, in the grand scheme of things.

  25. marypsi
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    What a racist sentiment, Anonymous. I am not annoyed at all by the recent call the action, I am compelled. I have compassion, which you seem to lack. Being an ally is not just an identity, it is ACTION. You are clearly not an ally (and seem fairly comfortable with your privilege).

    On another note- I believe that it is actually helpful to air grievance with the police. This was the largest recent gathering with police that I can remember, a clear moment for the police to hear what their community actually thinks and feels.

  26. Misha Tuesday
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I knew your notes would be quite robust. Thank you so much for taking and posting them. I am an incompetent note taker and didn’t get most people’s names, but I do have a note saying when you left, so here’s what got my attention after that:

    A therapist suggested replacing the terms “cultural competency” and “cultural awareness” with “cultural humility,” as it places both parties on level ground and offered to help the department institute cultural humility training. She said even with “awareness” there is a tendency to look at unfamiliar cultures through a lens of fear which she called he “stereotype threat.”

    Someone raised the idea that police, as first responders, should be involved in trying to save the life of the suspect after they have used force. Officers have the choice to not shoot, but once hey have they should administer first aid until EMTs arrive instead of worrying about how their career is going to be impacted.

    A few commenters suggested “staying engaged” and getting to know someone different from you, whether in your neighborhood, at church, at Kroger, wherever.

    Someone announced a class to be held this fall at the Unitarian Universalist church in Ann Arbor on “Examining Whiteness”

    Toward the end, one man suggested five things white people can do to help: 1) Help your white peers to understand their complicity in the racist system. 2) If you ever witness black or brown people having an interaction with police, film it.* 3) Offer to help a friend of color financially when they’re in need or let them know that you’re open to them asking. 4) Don’t just post things on Facebook decrying racism, do something practical (his example was standing downtown with a sign saying “This man is pro-black” for 20 minutes). 5) White supremacy is rooted in patriarchy; work to undermine patriarchy in your home by cooking, cleaning, etc.

    The task force meets on the second Monday of every month, usually in council chambers at Ypsilanti City Hall.

    * The ACLU Justice app allows users to film police interactions; the video is streamed directly in real time to the ACLU’s secure server. According to the ACLU, private citizens in Michigan have the right to film anything in public spaces including police activity as long as they do not interfere.

  27. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    GAWD, people like that anonymous poster up there really get to me sometimes. This isn’t some black vs white conflict! This is a serious problem in our community because it is not ok for some members of our community to be treated unfairly especially based on things like the color of their skin or their socio-economic class. I think it is wonderful that it is being addressed. I guess I just don’t feel sorry for people whose main complaint is that their privilege of being blissfully ignorant is being eroded.

    Also, I don’t think BLM protest groups necessarily cause disruption because they think that annoying people makes them allies. It is more that without the disruption, they get ignored and no one bothers to address their concerns. Sometimes the concerns are addressed not out of some sense of fairness but because people want an end to the disruption. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t still need to be protesting this shit but alas, we live in a world where sometimes one has to be a squeaky wheel because those in power aren’t motivated to make necessary changes otherwise.

  28. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Holly, those are great points, and normally as a longterm strategy i support your ideas in your last post….over time, as a general strategy in every day life.

    HOWEVER…the dialogue last night seemed to me (from the recap) to be exactly what I thought the taskforce event would be: A Disease of the Week Showcase / Societal Problem Fad Theater.

    It’s a focus group to make people feel better about all the scary stuff they see on the news. Like an encounter group to help everyone get over the Martian panic of the War of Worlds radio cast. It’ll pass in time and as society we’ll get back to (or find…) some new issue or problem that will captivate our every waking minute until the next thing comes along.

  29. BEP
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I was a member of the HRC when this task force was formed. I witnessed how the HRC attempted to contact BLM members. It was said by the Chairman that after possibly one or two queries he made, that they could not be found locally. I believe the same quality of effort was made to involve the citizens in the process.

    I asked my question at the end of the meeting, “What attempts were made to involve the citizens of Ypsi with the Task Force? And when those efforts had little to no effect why were other methods such as Facebook and Flyers not used?” Last nights large attendance resulted from a Single facebook post going viral locally. Even acknowledging the turn out was strongly amplified by recent tragedies some of these people would of shown up at the meetings of the Task Force if they had known about them.

  30. General Dimetrious
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Let’s go ahead and count that one Murph, and say Ypsilanti police have not killed anyone in almost ten years (even though that case was an undercover Ypsilanti officer). To be fair, the black man in question had just attempted to run over another officer, was fleeing the scene, jumped out of the vehicle, and instead of raising his hands as instructed, reached for his waistband in an effort to discard the drug buy cash.

    Does one shooting in almost a decade justify this commission, especially considering that Dejuan Ward was a legendary drug dealer, shot while drug dealing to a LAWNET task force? Or is this just a chance for powerless poor people to complain about getting pulled over?

  31. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    As for the rest, the immediate accusations of, of course, my privilege, inherent racism, and ignorance just give credence to my initial decision to post in this forum anonymously. I’m sure if this was under my real name the reporters would be call and the public shaming begin.

    Another reason I don’t participate in these onesided community forums. They are basically a Common Greivance Committee of “oh yeah, you felt that too?”. There’s very little diversity of opinion or viewpoint outside of a prescribed yet invisible set of political correctness standards and assumptions.

  32. Max
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey Anon, I think that feeling of annoyance is part of what they are talking about. If someone doesn’t stop you from your daily routine by protesting in your lane or videotaping their loved one’s death rattle, you will keep driving to your privileged job, to pick up your privileged kids, and back to your privileged house perhaps without thinking, really thinking about what’s going on here. This isn’t just a problem with the police, it’s a societal problem where people with very little hope or support are corralled in neighborhoods and school districts that are forgotten or avoided by everyone else but the police.

    By nature, we develop biases and prejudices. Until we all acknowledge this, we’re ignoring the problem. So some people may be ‘racist’ and not realize it. Helping those people to realize this is what they were commenting about. Saying we need more accountability is the same as saying poor people are choosing to be poor. One young commentator mentioned that our priorities are out of place as we have enough money to incarcerate so many, where we could be using that money to improve communities and help to educate people.

    Also, the fact that you chose not to attend and then spew your impression of what went on is poor form. It’s like someone that doesn’t vote, but complains about the president. Sorry for assuming you are white if you are not.

  33. Holly
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Misha, thank you for the additional notes. Would it be ok if I either screencapped or copied/pasted to my FB? In particular the five action items and the meeting schedule would help to give newly engaged activists and white allies a starting point.

  34. Maria E Huffman
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    While I do not consider it police brutality, I dislike to be called Maria by the police, it is Mrs. Huffman.. I am just writing.

  35. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you self-righteous folks have a real hefty and comprehensive “re-education” campaign planned for those in society that don’t exactly agree with your biases, assumptions, and prejudices. There’s surely lots of privileged folks out there who just “don’t know” they are privileged and need to be “shown” the true ways of things. By hook, crook, or, if your Micah X. Jackson, a little of the ol’ “By Any Mean Necessary”…

    Good luck with that. Don’t be surprised when you get LOTS of resistance. It’s already starting actually. I won’t mention the T word.

    It’ll make my mass hysteria analogy look..quaint.

  36. General Demitrious
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    So everyone who is not in a state sponsored apartment, and eating state provided food privileged? Come on.

  37. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Everyone who isn’t should have their Facebook monitored and be forced to check in for anger managment classes and mental health assessments regularly to assess if they realize they’re privileged or not, apparently.

    This is some Red Guards shit in those comments from the Event. I feel bad for the privacy and professional rights of law enforcement and public servants if these Citizen’s Brigades get overinvolved locally.

    (They won’t though…because this passing fad for cheap social justice activism will be gone by next year ot the year after once the election is done…)

  38. Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Read 5 Simple Steps to Becoming an Anti-Racist White Man directly to Tony DeGuisti around 9:54; the crowd responded well to the critical remarks. #LVSBLK

  39. Misha Tuesday
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Holly: You or anyone else is free to use my notes however you see fit.

    Also I forgot to add that during roll call I took a hasty headcount and got about 430. More people came in later so I estimate 430-460 people were there altogether.

  40. Maria Huffman
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. Huffman..it is not that hard to say or to write…really.

  41. Holly
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Anon, I don’t know your race, ethnicity, or cultural background. I do know that every white person who lives in America participates in racism. Myself included. There are structures, beliefs, and unexamined perspectives and privileges that benefit the status quo for white America. I’ve had to dismantle a lot of previously unexamined attitudes that I carried about people of color based on my limited exposure and interaction with communities outside of my white bubble. The chance that I still have unexamined attitudes and assumptions is high. I’m really not proud of that, and unfortunately I may not even know I am carrying around a particular seed of racism until a situation or context presents itself.

    In the past I have defended those assumptions and beliefs, but in my early 20s (I’m now 38) I began the process of education. At first, the education came from white friends who had been in my shoes. Once you ring the bell of casual racism and are aware of it, you can’t unring it.

    There have been very painful, uncomfortable, and regrettable moments in that education. I have embarrassed myself more times that I care to count. However, I still believe the value of this introspective work. My self-worth is still viable. My self-image is intact. I understand my position in the world as being a privileged one when compared to my POC peers, and I want to use that position to uplift and raise others. The hope that it will matter in the end keeps me going. I understand that real change is generations in the making. I understand that I am still complicit by my own participation within a system that is inherently unfair. I also still believe that I’m a worthwhile human being. Those things don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

    I think it’s very important that community members were able to voice their experiences and fears at this meeting. There were many common threads, true – but is that an echo chamber or a reflection of experience? And while several people did reveal personal stories, many others simply asked questions about process, training, community involvement, etc. All of those contributions are valid and needed.

  42. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Trump is absolutely the patron saint of those who would deny their privilege. It is sad that so many people are so selfish that they come undone with any possible reduction in their privilege. There are a lot of people out there who are unaware of their privilege. Well mostly. They seem to notice when their privilege is eroding though but then try to frame it as some kind of oppression. e.g. the people who think that saying ‘happy holidays’ is somehow oppressing Christians.

    At any rate, I totally expect resistance and since it is white men whose power is being taken away, we may even have violent resistance since in the entire history of our country, white men seldom take any loss of status, privilege, etc without some sort of violent response. Yet, we still have made progress. For instance, white dudes once fought a whole war because they were denied the privilege of owning other people but now, even the worst racists seem to agree that slavery is wrong. Most would disagree with the Jim Crow laws of the South. And someday, they will accept that it isn’t ok for the police to treat people with disrespect especially due to the color of their skin. We will get there.

  43. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Re: “So everyone who is not in a state sponsored apartment, and eating state provided food privileged? Come on.”

    This is an older article but I think it does a good job at explaining the concepts of privilege and intersectionality

  44. Holly
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    General Demitrious, do you want to have a real discussion about privilege and how it works? It’s very difficult to determine via text whether one is really open to conversation or if it was a toss-off comment.

  45. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-crosleycorcoran/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person_b_5269255.html

  46. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Ms Huffman, the trouble is how are police to know how you would like to be addressed? I mean, if you tell them and then they continue to address you differently, that is one thing but it isn’t universal that people want to be addressed by their last names. These days, I would say that is actually rather unusual.

  47. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    The olden day phrase for all that was “white guilt”. It’s fine to feel that way….but also nothing new or revolutionary. I figured this event …and commentary…would be rift with it and I was correct. The Blame Game goes hand in hand with it as well. People are welcome to participate in the activity of white guilt….or the Blame Game….especially if it makes them feel better, or enlightens their days, or adds holier than thou vibes to the encounter with “ignorant” people who don’t see things in exactly the same way. It’s also a highly popular…even trendy…activity…at the moment.

    It’s not something I’m into though, and there are many people — some of them black even… who also are not “into” it and find it mostly counterproductive. Please don’t force it on them as the only way of knowledge or truth about human relations just because it answers your questions and softens the media saturation of our common space as a fundamentally unjust and evil place. It isn’t. Lots of people go to work every day, are kind and just to one another, and don’t live in abject fear.. This doesn’t mean they are perpetuating racism or doing the handy work of the racist police state: They just weren’t the ones at last night’s forum.

  48. Maria Huffman
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Mark Maynard, do I two accounts with you, if so , please leave only one, the one with the E as middle intial. My middle name is Eugenia.

  49. Maria Huffman
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Of course you can do whatever you want..it your blog.

  50. Holly
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Anon, you keep using the word “guilt” as though we are talking about the same thing.

    We are not.

    It seems like you are reacting strongly to the concept of being “shamed” for one’s whiteness. I am telling you that I don’t feel guilt. I can’t help being born white. I can help being deliberately ignorant of how people who are not white have a life experience totally different to my own.

    That places me into a position of responsibility, not blame. Semantics are important here because they are so often used to negate, dismiss, or otherwise rebuke circumstances, events, and structures that make us feel uncomfortable. I am here to tell you that a white person can feel regret and remorse about privilege without feeling lessened. I think that comes up a lot when we talk about privilege, because we dance around talking about the fear of being made somehow lesser if we admit that we benefit from an unjust system. The irony is that the very same privilege makes other people feel lesser. Acknowledging that isn’t a matter of guilt or blame.

    Even when we go to work and are kind to each other, racism exists. Racism isn’t about kindness or being unkind. It can manifest in those ways, of course – but believe me when I tell you my own mom would be very kind to black people in public while distrusting and vilifying them in private. Then there are people who practice less vicious racism – making assumptions about what someone is or isn’t capable of based on skin color, or myriad other microaggressions that are exhausting to navigate every day – and yet black people must. And that’s the structure we’re talking about. It’s a system, not necessarily an interaction or even a state of mind. It’s like the analogy about fish – they don’t know they’re in water because it is all around them. We’re swimming in it, Anon. All of us in a great big gross ocean of systemic racism.

    We can start to change that but it takes a willingness to be uncomfortable, introspective, and honest.

  51. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous, “white guilt” has nothing at all to do with this. I mean I get it that sometimes white people feel guilty when they realize that they benefit from their privilege and others are not so fortunate but there is no reason for that. When people say “we need the police to treat us with respect” their purpose is not to make you feel guilty. As for the “blame game”, I hear you but have to admit that I find it hilarious that you would bring it up in the same conversation were you are blaming protesters and black people and others for making you feel bad.

    But whatever. suck it up, buttercup, the patriarchy is coming down and no one cares about your feelings about it. well I don’t at least. You can feel guilty, you can not feel guilty, you can feel oppressed, you can feel whatever it is you need to feel. I only care that you are treated equally in society.

  52. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This does seem to be all one-sided. How police need to be better trained, how they are biased, how they should live in the neighborhood, how they should play basketball with youth, how we need civilian police boards, how we need a system for citizens to complain anonymously.

    What can we do to help the police do their job better and protect us from crimes and violence? If you give respect, you’ll get respect. For starters, don’t march down the street chanting death threats. Don’t use handguns to settle petty arguments. Don’t condone or excuse violence and law breaking. Stop when asked by police and don’t try to run from them or wrestle with them. If you see the flashing lights behind you, slow down, pull over, and keep your hands visible and on the steering wheel. If you witness a crime, voluntarily provide information to the police. This applies to everyone regardless of race and would go a long way towards reducing tensions.

  53. Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “If you give respect, you’ll get respect.”

    Lol. So that cop in Memphis who pointed a gun at me for the simple crime of walking down the street after buying a soft drink just thought I was being disrespectful.

    No, he pulled a gun on me because of how I looked. Even made sure to call me a “faggot” a couple of times. If a more level headed cop hadn’t come up and saved my ass, I’d be dead.

    That’s just one time that a poice officer has pulled a gun on me for….. doing…. absolutely nothing but minding my own business.

    But that didn’t happen. I was simply “disrespectful.”

  54. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Re: “What can we do to help the police do their job better and protect us from crimes and violence?”

    Things we can do to help the police do their job better and protect us from crimes and voilence:
    1. Give them better training
    2. Help them overcome the biases that are making their jobs harder
    3. Encourage them to forge relationships in the community by playing basketball with the kids. I mean who would turn down being paid to play basketball?
    4. Set up a system for citizens to complain anonymously so the police can have the feedback they need to do their jobs better.

    The thing that people need to remember is that police officers are public *servants*. They should be treating every citizen with respect in the same way that retail workers have to treat customers with respect.

  55. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Well Peter,

    I bet you stopped and didn’t try to run when he had his gun on you. I imagine that you didn’t try to wrestle it from his hand. I bet that might have something to do with your still being alive today to tell us your story of woe.

  56. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I think those cops in Dallas were respectful. They were there protecting the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble. They stood between the shooter and the citizens. They didn’t deserve to die.

  57. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Of course they didn’t deserve to die. Has anyone suggested that?

  58. Brainless
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    > This does seem to be all one-sided.

    It sure as hell is. One side gets a job, guns and a badge. What exactly does the other side get?

    In any case, you and anonymous can meet your kind over at the mlive comments cesspool if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fact that Ypsilanti actually had a positive and productive community meeting:

    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/07/ypsilanti_residents_take_on_po.html

  59. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The other side gets to live in a safer community.

  60. Terri W.
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much to Misha Tuesday for her additional remarks which I thought captured the rest of the evening well and to Lynn for the link to the good article Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person.

    I stayed last night to hear every single comment because I felt “bearing witness” and doing my best to listen was one thing I could offer as a “white” person. In the process, I learned a lot – and I felt the pain, fear, and anger of many directly.

    I will be wearing a Black Lives Matter band to show that I am an ally – and to invite those awkward and perhaps hostile conversations with other whites that I’ve been avoiding. When Black Lives Matter then All Lives Will Matter. While I’ve always believed this, I am now taking more responsibility to make that happen.

    One more thing – please consider being super kind to everyone you interact with starting by looking them in the eye to acknowledge that they exist. Small acts of kindness with each other that are as simple as opening a door for another will help ease the tension (and it might make you feel a bit better, too)

  61. General Demitrious
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    The other side gets to not have to carry a gun, not go to a job so dangerous the state has to provide life insurance, and not have to deal with angry assholes every day.

  62. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    “help them overcome their biases that are making their jobs harder” : here take your medicine bad police man.

    That’ll go over well. I think you ‘ll see that patriarchy is alive and well sitting in the back of a Paddywagon wondering why such a simple plan didn’t work, Lynne.

  63. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    “help them overcome their biases that are making their jobs harder” : here take your medicine bad police man.

    That’ll go over well. I think you ‘ll see that patriarchy is alive and well sitting in the back of a Paddywagon wondering why such a simple plan didn’t work, Lynne.

  64. Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    “Well Peter,
    I bet you stopped and didn’t try to run when he had his gun on you. I imagine that you didn’t try to wrestle it from his hand. I bet that might have something to do with your still being alive today to tell us your story of woe.”

    You are a moron, as usual.

    I considered running as he threatened to shoot me. Unfortunately for him, the other cop showed up. He even remarked as much.

    You have no earthly clue what goes on in the real world. Police do stop people based on how they look (whether it’s being black or looking like a “faggot” or anything else), and, obviously, shoot people regardless of how “respectful” they are.

    What is your problem? Do your stupid politics just take priority over seeing the truth?

    But then, you have always been on the other side, haven’t you. Must feel good.

    The story of woe is simply looking like “faggot” to a white police officer in Memphis, TN. That was my crime.

    Is that difficult for you? I guess it is.

  65. Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    ““What can we do to help the police do their job better and protect us from crimes and violence?””

    “Protecting us (white, educated homeowners) from crimes and violence” usually includes clamping down on minorities and poor people.

  66. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    anonymous, quite frankly, any police officer who isn’t willing to confront their biases probably should be in a different profession. I don’t think people are bad for having biases, most of us do. However, those biases are particularly dangerous when held by people in positions of authority. Dangerous for *them* too, btw. It is important that we try to address biases and doing so will make the job easier for police officers. i.e. if the citizenry can trust the police, they are more cooperative.

    Any police officer who would think it ok to arrest someone for speaking their mind also really should not be in a profession where it is their job to protect people’s rights. Same goes for those pointing guns into citizen’s faces based on their guesses of that person’s sexual orientation.

  67. Maria Huffman
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    EOS, you overstepped. Seriously, stop posting.

  68. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    So asking to consider both sides is overstepping? You stop posting, Ms. Huffman.

  69. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Lynne the level of ethical purity and saintliness you expect from the lowly paid police officer is astounding…but then I never noticed you mentioned “increase their pay” in your schoolmarmish prescription for improvement.

    Maybe we should get robots…but something tells me the Dallas Bomb Robot outraged you too.

  70. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    EOS I appreciated your post here today on “Scapegoat A Cop” Gazette.

    Maria or whatever her name has published only gibberish about her name being Eugenia something.

  71. Maria Huffman
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    well I might. MR. EOS… hi Anonymous…the point of deciding a cop does or does not deserve to be shot while on the job was overstepping…seriously…none deserve to be shot on the job..a very simlplistic rubric, no one deserves to be shot, i.e. No death penalty..

  72. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous, you actually think that it would be ok for a police officer to refuse to even try to confront their biases? I am not asking for perfection but a willingness. I don’t consider that saintly at all, that is simply meeting the bare minimum of expectations. But I guess someone who feels ok making sexist jabs (“schoolmarmish? really?) probably does feel threatened but that is their problem, not mine.

    I haven’t mentioned paying police officers more but I acknowledge that it may be necessary. Especially if all of the cops who are in the profession because they like having authority over others decide to quit when asked to take a more subservient approach to the community. On the other hand, there are a lot of underemployed women and minorities who probably would jump at the chance to earn what police officers earn so it may be that tapping into that labor market would be a good way to get enough officers without needing to increase pay while increasing the diversity on the force at the same time. Everyone wins!

    I also think that eventually robots probably could replace police officers and that it won’t be as bad of a thing as some fear. That “robot” used in Dallas wasn’t autonomous as far as I know. I was under the impression that it was more like a remote controlled car and therefore a dangerous weapon in the hands of the wrong people. The Dallas PD probably acted appropriately but I think what people are worried about is police officers using the tool in situations where they don’t need to. I mean look at what they do now with no knock warrants and weapons like flash-bangs and pepper spray. On the one hand, I can see how having the tools makes a person want to use them but ultimately, the issue is one of people. If the police on the force can’t be trusted with a gun or a robot or whatever other tools they might have, they should not be on the force.

  73. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take your obvious distain and disrespect for the law enforcement profession and you can take my obvious patriarchial biases and we can call it a draw.

    Interesting you call me sexist…how do you not know I’m not a female ? You’ve been making assumptions since the start, Ms. Judgey

  74. anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s ok for police to examine their biases…just make sure we pay them more for it. You sound like you’d like them to donate their time…as good “public servants”. Do you personally know any law enforcement personnel…friends? Family? I doubt it with all the assumptions…er…”bias”…you harbor for them, Lynn.

  75. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    anonymous, you know that women can be and often are just as sexist as men, right? Your assumptions about my assumptions are wrong. LOL. that is a funny sentence.. I digress.

    Here is the thing. I don’t hold law enforcement in disdain and I respect their position of authority. I just also have high standards for how I expect public servants, but especially public servants with the kind of authority and power as police officers, to behave. I expect them to treat every citizen with as much respect *as possible* even if they have to arrest them. (before you go off on that statement, note the qualifier) Most police officers manage to do this well, actually, most of the time. Or at least from my point of view, but if they can treat me well, they can treat everyone well and unfortunately even in Ypsilanti it looks like that isn’t the case. I truly appreciate the department’s willingness to address this, btw. I often think YPD is one of the best in the country, fwiw.

    As for pay, it is an important job and like teaching I feel it is a public sector job where it probably pays to keep the level of compensation high in order to attract the best people. I hear you that high standards come at a cost. However, it is also worth acknowledging that the labor market for police officers is much bigger than it once was so it may be possible to get top quality police officers for less with an effort to recruit people in demographics not ordinarily drawn to police work.

    Not that it should matter, but of course I know people in law enforcement although among my peers it has not been a popular career path. I also admit that my feelings about the police are related to how I grew up. My dad’s job before he retired was negotiating police contracts, among other things. Naturally I heard a LOT about police compensation issues at the dinner table growing up. I find it funny that you seem to think that my views on police compensation are as simple as “You sound like you’d like them to donate their time” when actually they are pretty complex. You know about as complex as an econ major whose dad is an expert in public sector labor relations can be. So seriously, I say this as a warning. I LOVE talking about labor economics like LOVE LOVE LOVE it but no one ever wants to because they find it boring but I will hit you with all I got if you keep harping on this “you dont want to pay cops” lie that you keep pounding.

  76. Bob
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I pretty much feel like everyone on this thread could use a good beat down.

  77. Dan
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    “On the other hand, there are a lot of underemployed women and minorities who probably would jump at the chance to earn what police officers earn so it may be that tapping into that labor market would be a good way to get enough officers without needing to increase pay while increasing the diversity on the force at the same time.”

    Lynne what would you guess is preventing those people from applying to be police officers?

  78. Megan Hagenauer
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    As a white person, I found the atmosphere at the meeting to be comfortable, eloquent, compassionate, and often constructive. There was anger and frustration, but overall the biggest theme was a need for collective effort and unity.

  79. Posted July 13, 2016 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I thought we were switching to robots.

  80. Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    I am not black, but if an educated white person from across town came up to me trying to make friends with me on the basis of my skin color alone, in the hopes of generating “understanding,” I think I’d be a little creeped out.

    Don’t ask me why.

  81. Lynne
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Re: “Lynne what would you guess is preventing those people from applying to be police officers?”

    It could be a lot of things.

    I know that there is a lot of research which suggests that women value safety in the workplace more than men do (as a group) so women may be less inclined to take a job that they perceive as dangerous like police work. It probably isn’t an accident that most dangerous jobs are male dominated: http://time.com/4326676/dangerous-jobs-america/

    I know too that a lot of how people move into adulthood has to do with modeling. As an example: I grew up mostly around pretty white collar people. My grandfather had worked in the auto plants but in my family it was widely seen as a sign of progress that all of his children went to college and got white collar jobs. When I was making my career choices, I totally went with the whole white collar thing and even eventually finished college. It never would have occurred to me to do anything else. But, now that I am older, I wonder if maybe I overlooked careers that I might have liked better. And ok, this is fueled a *little* bit by the facebook posts of a high school friend who had to drop out of college for financial reasons so she took a job at the Ford Plant. Fast fwd, she makes a LOT more money than I do and has all kinds of good benefits that I don’t have etc etc. I don’t really know if I would like her job more but the main thing is that I never even considered it as an option, both because of my white collar background but also because back then I felt it was a “man’s job” . I imagine that a lot of people just don’t even think of it as an option and this is why I believe that recruiting could go a long way.

  82. Lynne
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Peter, we are probably going to switch to robots at some point. I hope we can prepare for that in terms of economic structure but it is a problem like climate change that is easily ignored.

  83. EOS
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    So Lynne, What kind if white collar job do you do?

  84. Lynne
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    EOS, technical support. Actually interestingly a career I fell into quite by accident. But one which illustrates how social networks can be important. Previously I was managing a short term residential crisis program for mentally ill adults but was getting really burned out. So a friend of mine was managing a technical support team over at Borders and needed some entry level people. Since the position required people skills more than technical skills, she thought I would be a good fit so she encouraged me to apply. I picked up a lot of technical skills there so I moved up quickly. So that was a route available to anyone since the entry level job I got there was open to those without a college degree but still pretty white collar and office work. Yet, this is a career path I also never would have considered without encouragement largely because at the time it was completely male dominated.

  85. EOS
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like interesting work. Always something different.

  86. Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I was amazed and heartened by the turnout. I was also kind of amazed that there was very little repetition of issues and stories. The most repetitious thing was a call for unity. I felt honored at the large number of black people who came and shared their stories and ideas and feelings — brave and compelling. I felt proud of Ypsi. I heard a lot that I’ll be mulling for quite some time. Too bad the trolls are out in force in this thread. Overall it was a hopeful gathering.

  87. EOS
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Lisa,
    Why do you feel honored? Are you claiming credit for the turnout of black people? Does this mean you are an agitator for Soros and the BLM movement?

  88. Maria Huffman
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Not a thread to jump into lightly, Lisa Bashert. I do not think a soul on this thread was trolling.

  89. Lynne
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    EOS, Or maybe she feels honored because black people in this town trust their white neighbors enough to come out and publicly voice their concerns without fear of backlash? Just a thought. You don’t have to put the worst spin on everything, you know!

  90. Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Why is it surprising that black people would come to a community event?

    I have lived in a lot of black areas and have always found community events well attended. It is kind of the norm.

    What are people assuming here?

  91. Lynne
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Peter, I know that I often worry about situations where white people dominate so much that black people feel like they won’t be heard if they bother to come out. I know that here in Ypsilanti, most of the neighborhood meetings and city issues meetings that I have gone to have been mostly white people. I am sure a lot of that is economic privilege in that if one is poor and has to work really hard or during the meeting hours, they might be too tired or too busy for meetings. Yet I often wonder if there is something we could all do to be more welcoming of everyone.

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