Conversations on Race and Policing marks its third year of programs when it presents the May 2022 PBS Frontline documentary, “Police on Trial,” which focuses on the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, and its aftermath.
It was the death of Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer that sparked widespread protests, calls for reform and revamping of the nation’s policing system, difficult and hard conversations on race and racism – and gave birth to Cal State San Bernardino’s Conversations on Race and Policing, also known as CoRP.
The program, free and open to the public, will take place on Zoom beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7. It can be accessed from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at https://csusb.zoom.us/j/97960458784
Following the film’s screening, CoRP organizers will facilitate a discussion on the documentary and issues and topics related to it.
“Police on Trial” is the work of journalists with Frontline and the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis, Minn. According to the film’s website, it “draws on unique, on-the-ground reporting and filming, from the earliest days after George Floyd’s death, to documenting the trial and murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, to ongoing struggles for police accountability and reform in Minneapolis.”
In subsequent court cases, three other former Minneapolis police officers implicated in Floyd’s death were given prison sentences.
The series has featured scholars, journalists, law enforcement officers, lawyers, activists, artists, educators, administrators and others from throughout the nation who shared their experience and expertise on issues related to race and policing.
“The unfortunate murder and airing of George Floyd and others at the hands of law enforcement shocked us all into action,” said Mary Texeira, CSUSB professor of sociology and one of the founding organizers of the series. “As academics whose careers have been spent examining societal issues, we knew we had to do something. When we embarked on this journey over two years ago, we had no idea we’d still be having discussions with experts on the criminal justice system.”
More than 50 forums have taken place, and video recordings of the sessions are posted online on the Conversations on Race and Policing Lecture Series Archive.
“It has been quite a journey of discovery on the workings of the system,” said Texeira. “We would like our audience – comprised of community members, students, staff and faculty – to recognize that the media version does not tell the entire story. We would also like them to critically think about institutions that purport to ‘protect and serve’ its constituents.
“Two years later we are encouraged by the fact that media and other institutions are beginning to examine the justice system in ways that we have not seen before,” she said. “The conviction of disgraced police officer Derek Chauvin was a start, but there is still much work to do.”
The September lineup of Conversations on Race and Policing, each at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, include:
- Sept. 14: “Policing Proof: Korry Gaines, Body Cameras, and Anti-Blackness as a Scene,” with Joshua Aiken, a J.D./Ph.D. candidate from Yale;
- Sept. 21: “Police Reform and Federal Consent Decrees,” Zachary Powell, assistant professor of criminal justice, CSUSB School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; and
- Sept. 28: “Indian Boarding Schools: Assemblymember James Ramos in Conversation with Robert Levi Jr. and Dr. Daisy Ocampo.” Ramos, a CSUSB alumnus, represents the district that includes the university; Levi is CSUSB’s inaugural Elder/Culture Bearer in Residence; and Ocampo is a CSUSB assistant professor of history.
The series is organized by CSUSB students Marlo Brooks, Zoralynn Oglesby, Evelyn Jimenez, Jade McDonald, Jaime Castro and Connie Cornejo. Along with the students and Texeira are Jeremy Murray, CSUSB associate professor of 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.
Also visit the Conversations on Race and Policing webpage.