Monday, October 27, 2014

The Faculty Lounge: Police Arrest SLU Law Professor and Legal Observer During Saint Louis Protests

Faculty Lounge: Police Arrest SLU Law Professor and Legal Observer During Saint Louis Protests: "Community members continue to hold protests in different areas of the Saint Louis metropolitan region, directed against racial profiling and racially-motivated killings by area police.  During one of these recent protests, my SLU Law colleague, Professor Justin Hansford, was arrested by the police.  In a beautiful essay, Justin recounts the experience and the road ahead.  Here's just an excerpt: "Protesting is an act of hope. It's not altogether reasonable to believe that standing in a certain place, walking around in circles, chanting and clapping, can in some way create a better world. But it calls for a measure of determination to offset the inevitable fear of backlash, repression, arrest, and violence that accompanies any endeavor of speaking truth to power. I am proud of my efforts to protect the First Amendment rights of these protesters, and no attempt to criminalize this legal work will change that. Dissent makes our democracy dynamic, and in this case in particular, I share the dreams of those who protested that day and wish avidly that their hope is fulfilled. The hope that animates this movement in Ferguson is the dream of new relationship with the police that is defined by mutual respect. The good news is that there are many ways to do that. The bad news is that any meaningful solution is going to require both the community and police to give up something they value. For the community, it will entail giving up time and energy as a new culture of more vigorous citizen oversight of policing emerges. For the police, it will entail giving up a general culture of impunity, and being held accountable financially and professionally for excessive use of force and racial profiling in black and brown communities, perhaps for the first time in our nation's history. As much pain as these changes might bring, and as difficult as it may be to get us there, making this transition is the only viable pathway to a future of racial harmony, peace, justice, and human rights.""

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