6 TEDx talks explore the relationship between police and citizens in America

Director of Research and Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle  Dayvon Love at TEDxMidAtlantic (Photo: TEDxMidAtlantic)

Director of Research and Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle Dayvon Love at TEDxMidAtlantic (Photo: TEDxMidAtlantic)

Recent events in the U.S. — the deadly shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and five police officers in Dallas, Texas — have the country desperate for ways to fix the devastatingly violent and broken relationship between the people and police.

These six talks — from activists, law enforcement, researchers — explore the fraught relationship between police and citizens in America, and investigate the role of race, history and class in this problem and potential solutions. Watch them all below:


I love being a police officer, but we need reform | Melvin Russell | TEDxMidAtlantic
At TEDxMidAtlantic, Baltimore Police officer Lt. Colonel Melvin Russell shares stories from his work as district commander in one of Baltimore’s toughest neighborhoods and efforts to change the police force from a group seen as cold, callous and dehumanized, to community champions aiming to win trust and lower the violent crime rate.


The death penalty on the street | Jelani Exum | TEDxToledo
Law professor Jelani Exum says the fatal use of force by police officers is a sentencing issue — and one without due process: “When police officers, acting in their duty as government officials and the enforcers of our laws, when they kill someone, that’s the death penalty … it’s the death penalty on the street,” she says at TEDxToldeo.


Warrior vs. guardian mindsets in policing | Mike D’Antonio | TEDxLosGatosHighSchool
Captain Mike D’Antonio commands police operations and support services for the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department in Los Gatos, California. In a talk at TEDxLosGatosHighSchool, he explores what he sees as the two dominant mindsets of police forces across the U.S. — that of the warrior and that of the guardian. D’Antonio encourages his fellow police to break free of the warrior mindset — of one who is keen to escalate situations, force compliance and demand control — and embrace that of the guardian, a person who works through communication, deescalation, and trust-building.


After Ferguson: what policing in America is missing | David Harris | TEDxUniversityofPittsburgh
Law professor David Harris says that if the American police force is to truly serve and protect all communities, the culture of law enforcement needs to change. For one, police need to acknowledge law enforcement’s ugly history, Harris says, including slave patrol work and brutal suppression of civil rights activism — and understand how the past inflects their work today. He adds that police need to see themselves as members of communities, rather than separate entities sent to patrol them, as a lack of community relationships often incites community-blind responses responses with violent, devastating consequences.


Fixing police brutality requires building power in local communities | Dayvon Love | TEDxMidAtlantic
Director of Research and Public Policy for Baltimore-based non-profit Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, activist Dayvon Love believes that fixing broken relationships between police and communities lies in investing in the people who live in these communities — empowering everyday citizens to shape the institutions that control their lives. At TEDxMidAtlantic, Love shares how Baltimoreans have helped Baltimoreans to speak up for the public policy they want.


How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them | Vernā Myers | TEDxBeaconStreet
The Department of Justice reports that African Americans are twice as likely as whites to be arrested during a traffic stop, and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. And according to the FBI, young black men are 21 times as likely as their white peers to be killed by police. In this talk at TEDxBeaconStreet, diversity advocate Vernā Myers shares some hard truths about racial injustices and offers us three ways we can uncover our biases, overcome our discomfort and make a difference in the lives of black men and our society as a whole.

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