A retired police chief will offer his inside view of law enforcement from his perspective and discuss how substantive reform of law enforcement can take place when the next Conversations on Race and Policing takes place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 10.

Norman Harvey Stamper – who spent most of his 34-year career with the San Diego Police Department and the final six (1994-2000) as chief of the Seattle Police Department – will present “Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.”

The program, which is open to the public, will be on Zoom and can be accessed from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at https://csusb.zoom.us/j/97960458784.

Stamper holds a Ph.D. in leadership and human behavior, and has published numerous articles and books on police reform. His books include Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing” (2005) and “To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police (2016.) 

He is also known for the Seattle Police Department’s response to protests in 1999 during the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. His decision to use tear gas against protestors to clear an intersection eventually led to his resignation. In a June 2020 interview with PBS, Stamper said, “It was the worst decision, I think, of my career. Certainly, when it comes to tactics in protest situations, the absolute worst decision. I’m ashamed of the decision that I made.”

In a 2018 article, titled “Honoring Police Includes Acknowledging Systemic Reform Is Needed,” he wrote, “… a proper tribute (to law enforcement) starts by accepting what is for some a painful truth: Much of the criticism of American policing — rudeness, bigotry, and discrimination; unlawful stop and frisk; false arrests; sexual predation; corruption; excessive force — is valid.”

Conversations on Race and Policing began in the aftermath of the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of four Minneapolis, Minn., police officers. A video of the incident posted on social media has led to widespread protests, the firing of four police officers, the arrest of one officer on a second-degree murder charge, the other three on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder – and a spotlight worldwide on race and policing.

Previous forums also are posted online (more recordings will soon be available for viewing) on the CSUSB History Club Lecture Series YouTube channel.

The ongoing Conversations on Race and Policing series is hosted by CSUSB students Marlo Brooks and Yvette Relles-Powell.

The series is organized by Brooks and Relles-Powell, CSUSB faculty members Mary Texeira (sociology) and Jeremy Murray (history), Robie Madrigal, public affairs/communication specialist for the CSUSB John M. Pfau Library, and community member Stan Futch, president of the Westside Action Group.  

For more information, contact Robie Madrigal at rmadriga@csusb.edu or Jeremy Murray at jmurray@csusb.edu.

Conversations on Race and Policing March 10 flyer