Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Podcast: Update from the March on Washington, slave patrols and Texas policing, the politics of police budgets, and other stories

In the September 2020 episode of Just Liberty's Reasonably Suspicious podcast, the Austin Justice Coalition's Chas Moore substitutes for Mandy to co-host with Scott Henson. 

This month, we discuss:
  • The March on Washington and protesters' theory of change (0:45)
  • Slave patrols and the history of Texas policing (9:15)
  • The politics of Austin's police budget cuts (31:46)
In the Last Hurrah segment (42:25), Chas and I took up:
  • Austin PD's 911 call data analyzed
  • Dallas Chief under fire in protest aftermath
  • Texas' George Floyd Act
Find a transcript below the jump. Enjoy!

Transcript: September 2020 Reasonably Suspicious podcast, co-hosted by Scott Henson and Chas Moore

Scott Henson: Hi, this is Scott Henson and you're listening to Just Liberty's Reasonably Suspicious Podcast covering Texas criminal justice politics and policy. My regular cohost Mandy Marzullo went under the knife last week and we definitely wish her well. But in the meantime our good friend Chas Moore, the executive director the Austin Justice Coalition has agreed to fill in for her. Thanks for joining me Chas, how are you doing today? 

Chas Moore: I'm good. I'm good. Hopefully I can do a pretty good job of filling in for Mandy. 

Scott Henson: Oh, I'm sure you're going to do great. Chas you spent last week in Washington D.C. where you attended the 2020 march on Washington. Did y'all get everything straightened out up in D.C. or is there more to do up there?

Chas Moore: Unfortunately, no. It's still just like the march in '63, the Million Man March in '95. It's a moment to gather. It's a moment to reflect on moments in the country, movements in the country. But there's always work to be done, right but it was really good and also disheartening to see the families of victims of police violence and really zone in on the fact that so many names and hashtags that we don't know, right? It was so many families of victims of police brutality and violence that we've never even heard of. That was very interesting to me. But outside of that it was really nice and hopeful to hear from so many young voices and advocates and activists around the country. Of course with 2020 being a huge election year, if not the most important election of our lives, the message around voting and the importance of voting was definitely there. But really the message around unity and resilience and perseverance was something that I really needed to refuel me for the work we do here in Texas. But also living in Austin with a lot of white people, it was good to be around a lot of people that look like me and just share that space. So, I'm so glad I got to go and I'm looking forward to going to the 60th anniversary in a couple of years. 

Scott Henson: Yeah it looked like a really good turnout there actually. The crowd was awesome. I was teasing you before you went. In the 60s, you had Bob Dylan sing. You had Harry Belafonte. Did you all have any good high end music perform for you?

Chas Moore: No. Well, not like these big ... Beyonce wasn't there, right? Beyonce and Jay-Z didn't perform.

Scott Henson: Beyonce, what's the deal man? Come on. Step up will you?

Chas Moore: They did have a really nice band and of course I was really humbled and honored to meet George Clinton who is a musical icon and legend.

Scott Henson: Sweet.

Chas Moore: Yeah he didn't perform, but he was there.

Scott Henson: What's George Clinton like?

Chas Moore: Still with the Funkadelic swag. He had an all gold and metallic get up on.

Scott Henson: Outstanding.

Chas Moore: And his goggles, he was very much mothership, right? So, I mean I think that was probably my favorite part just running into George Clinton and meeting him. Also running into Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Omar, Cori Bush who is an overnight rock star. So I mean it was definitely some high profile people out and they were out amongst the people, socially distanced taking pictures and stuff like that. But, it was definitely a sight.

Scott Henson: Well I'm sorry you had to come back to Austin and hang out with all these white people, but what do you do? You at least got a break.

Chas Moore: Yeah.

Scott Henson: So, all right. Well, this is obviously been a summer filled with protests over George Floyd. Here in Austin over Mike Ramos and Brian Manley. And you're just back from the national March on Washington. They're protesting Kenosha, Wisconsin. Big picture, talk to me about the endgame. In your mind what is the theory of change that takes all this protest energy in the street and transforms it into institutional change in police departments?

Chas Moore: So, I think the theory of change here is very simple. I just think the power structure whether that be city council, city managers, mayors, state legislatures, I think we just have to be willing to try to do new things, right? We know now whether if you want to go back to the '94 crime bill and or if you want to go back to the Reagan tough on crime era, anytime or every time we've invested more into the criminal legal system, the punitive criminal legal system and really the arm of it that starts all of it, the police departments, we do not get the results that we thought we wanted, right? We don't get safer communities. We don't get the better outcomes for low income socioeconomic communities. What we got and what we get is mass incarceration. We get black and brown folks and poor people that are killed by police. So I think the theory of change is we have to try an alternative approach to public safety, right? I think we have to be willing to step back and say, "You know what, maybe this thing that's called policing or policing as we know it isn't working. Maybe we should try investing our dollars and our resources into other alternatives to public safety. Maybe we should try something different than policing because this is not working the way I think we all wanted it to." 

I grew up as a kid watching Family Matters with Carl Winslow, right? That's what I thought a cop was and Fresh Prince of Bel Air I'm looking at Uncle Phil. That's what I'm thinking a judge is, right? Somebody that can be fair and all this type of stuff. But then come back to reality you see, "Oh, this is not that." So I think the theory of change is really getting radical, but not radical in the sense of Molotov cocktails. Radical in the sense of Angela Davis getting to the root of the problem and if the root of the problem is crime and harm, let's find out what's causing those things and let's find out a way to fix those things as opposed to punishing people that harm people or commit "crime." I think the only way we do that is by really getting back to this American ingenuity of discovery and trying something new and invention because we know what we have today in policing whether it's 21st century policing, community policing. Donut with a cop, basketball with a cop. It does not work on a very fundamental level. 

So I just think again we just have to be willing to try something new and think outside of our own boxes. I think we have to be willing to step outside of our comfort and say, "You know what as an American whether I'm Republican or white or whatever, other Americans are not safe when they call 911 or when police show up, right? I think we owe it to one another as Americans and as humans and as people to say, "You know what. Yeah we got to do something different."

Scott Henson: It is amazing how unwilling we are to experiment with some of these public safety structures. And you hear the same just garbage over and over sort of justifying these structures that are failing. We're going to talk more here in a little bit about slave patrols and the history of Texas policing. But I've been reading all these clips from the 1840s and 50s on old slave patrols. There was this one where this guy was saying, "Sure the slave patrols aren't working that well and the guys are just wondering around town without really doing much. But that's because we have the wrong people in that job. We need people who are more committed to the job and have their own skin in the game." I'm thinking to myself, "I've heard these arguments this year. No one is questioning the underlying structure. No one is questioning okay, are we just doing something that maybe is problematic maybe in it of itself." To see all that replicated 160 years ago or something is really nuts.

Scott Henson: Next up, I've known Chas for about five years now and even since I've met him he's been saying that modern police departments originated with slave patrols. This often made me think to myself, "That's interesting. I really don't know anything at all about that history." But in the wake of the George Floyd protest that meme's been floated widely. So recently I undertook some historical research to figure out if that's true. But before telling you what I found, Chas I'm curious where you first came across that analysis of slave patrols and police?

Chas Moore: So I was first, this was first brought to my attention actually at the University of Texas. I was taking AFR courses and I think AFR 301 who was taught by Dr. Gordon at the time he brought this up. It was really fascinating to me. It made so much sense once I read about it, once I learned about it. Then also I think this, my whole theory around the role of policing was also broadened when I went to the Holocaust Museum and you look at the role of policing an almost anything bad in history, right? 

Scott Henson: Fascinating.

Chas Moore: Yeah, right? So but it was definitely AFR classes that at the University of Texas that told me that and I think for anybody that has the time I think everybody should do themselves the due diligence to go find out about the origins of policing as we know it, which is slave patrols.

Scott Henson: Well I have to say, as I went back and researched this, I've basically realized that no one has ever researched this topic for Texas, really. That it's just not been something that anyone who's every published anything has actually delved into. But, I have gone back a little bit and tried to figure out, okay is it true that it's really the origin of policing? That's a really strong statement. And I think that is probably a slight overstatement. It is an overstatement. So in Texas our slave patrols were created in 1846 with an act of the Texas legislature. And they created a structure where county government would operate multiple districts in each county and they would hire between four and six people in each district and it was a part time gig. You just did it at first once a month. So, it was separate from and parallel to Sheriffs and Constables and also City Marshals which were the equivalent of the police chief. 

So we did have sheriffs and constables before we had a slave patrol. We had law enforcement that had separate functions. What you saw, though, first, even the law enforcement that weren't slave patrols had a role in enforcing slavery, enforcing apartheid, enforcing separation between the races. More than that, and I found this fascinating, I went back and read clips from the 40s and 50s from a variety of Texas papers, mostly really small town papers actually, but some in Austin. And what you saw was over the course of like the 20 years leading up to the Civil War people would start to conflate crime and runaway slaves, right? So, "Oh, we have burglaries rising. We need to send more slave patrols out." It was the assumption of well if there's crime it has to be because black people are doing it so let's send that out. So send out the slave patrol. 

Up until the slave patrol, and for the police departments, like, the police departments didn't start to do any of this until after the Civil War. Austin and Houston were the first cities to create their own police department patrols in Texas and they both did this right after the Civil War. What you had seen was over time the public had been confusing the slave patrol with public safety to the point where the slave patrol was the thing they'd always call for because that's what was visible. Before that law enforcement had had a customer service approach, right? The law enforcement was a bureaucrat who sat in the office and someone comes in and reports a crime and then they go out and deal with it. So, you wait until someone reports it.

So I feel like what I was seeing in those clips was once the slave patrols ended, because there were no more slaves, the white pro-confederate population of the city was horrified that free black people might just wander the streets undeterred and began to call for re-instituting patrols to reign them in and it was very explicit. So when Austin Police Department was created Dr. Kevin Foster who's a black studies professor at UT had found these amazing quote from the Austin City Council. The police department was created to deal with "the fact that a large number of Negros turned loose by their owners are congregating in and about Austin making it necessary to organize a police force to deal with them." The were worried about able bodied Negros who have abandoned the services of their employers, or found loitering or rambling about or oddly wandering the streets. Well this was the justification for creating the Austin Police Department. It was literally what the city council was saying from the dais when they were talking about creating that. 

And so where I've landed on this is while I think it's an overstatement to say policing [in Texas] originated in the slave patrols, I think that after the Civil War, people began demanding, white people began demanding that patrol function continue, right? And slave patrols were the beginning of the modern patrol based policing that we see now, to this day. Driving around in between 911 calls looking for things that might be going wrong is the fundamental basis for how police function. So that parole operation, not parole, the patrol operation is the part of policing that is this vestigial organ leftover from slave patrols. I feel like that this patrol model is the part of policing that today creates most of the problems. Right? 

Chas Moore: Oh, absolutely.

Scott Henson: People aren't concerned that when I report a murder or when I report a rape or when I report some problem that someone investigates. That's not what people are concerned about. It's the patrol function. And so while I think it's not accurate to say that policing is an institution originated with patrol, I think it is totally the case that the problematic parts of policing are this vestigial tale from the old slave patrol model.

Chas Moore: Well, but I do believe that some ... So maybe it's an overstatement if you use it as a blanket statement. But I do think there's some cities and jurisdictions in the country where the first form of "policing" was slave patrol, right?

Scott Henson: That may be. I'm saying Texas.

Chas Moore: Yeah with Texas, yeah. 

Scott Henson: And we were a very late state. You think about it, slavery only had a 50 year history in Texas. The first white people came here in the 1820s. So yeah, I mean absolutely. Other states, I can't really speak to that. I was looking at Texas history. 

Chas Moore: Yeah. But I absolutely agree, I think the fact that city council was saying this specifically that basically we need somebody to handle our negro problem and then they create the Austin Police Department after the slave patrol thing is whatever it's disappeared or whatever. I think that's still in the same vein, right? I think it boils down to why black people, people of color, poor people feel that police departments are not here to protect and serve everybody. They're here to protect and serve the status quo and the rich class of folks. I guess the same thing with the role of police in the Holocaust right? When you look at the people that were going around the Jews, it was the police. 

Scott Henson: Right.

Chas Moore: That's not something we talk about a lot for some reason. I think that is all very interesting and I'm just yeah, I mean I wish more people knew this. I think this is something that needs to be taught, absolutely for sure. But I guess my question for you is knowing that ... Or if we can agree to this. Can we agree that the APD was created to patrol black people?

Scott Henson: Absolutely.

Chas Moore: Okay, so if we agree with that ... Is it reasonable for people to feel that there is no way to reform this particular police department, this particular institution, right? A lot of people in the black and brown communities feel, they feel that even though they might not know that was said about why the Austin Police Department was created, they feel that. That's very real reality to them, which is why a lot of people are no longer on the reform train. They're just like you know what? Let's just not deal with the police department, let's get rid of them completely. So, my question to you as somebody that's been doing this work for years and you've seen all the movements. Well not all of them, but your fair share.

Scott Henson: I'm not that old!

Chas Moore: Do you think this resurgence in the abolition movement, right? This is not new. This has been here it was too far fetched for its time. So that's how we got reform and now we're back to maybe this is like you know. Do you think abolition is the answer based on what you know about some of the history around police and policing in Texas?

Scott Henson: That's a great question because there is so much bad history, especially when you look at the Austin PD and you look at how explicit it was about its creation. How can something created for such an abominable reason turn around and do good 150 years later or whatever it is. At the same time, every society has to have some way to enforce your basic statutes, whether they are don't kill, don't rob or pay your trade taxes or whatever it is, right? One thing I found amazing and humorous was that the early city marshals and sheriffs the main reason they were full time and the slave patrols was part time was all fee collection. Law enforcement was being used to collect fees and generate revenue. 

But there have been some sort of law enforcement long before there was even an America. There was a sheriff in Nottingham when Robin Hood was going around. So, there's always been some need to say society has minimum laws, minimum standards and we're going to hold people to account to those. The reason that I am hesitant to go all the way to abolition for myself personally and we've talked about this a little bit in the past. But, in the 90s when I came up working on these topics and I was young 20 something guy working on police brutality cases and trying to stop the police from shooting young black guys mostly, frankly. Most of the black community, not just in Austin, but really nationally wasn't down with that agenda, right? I mean post Rodney King the black community did not rise up and demand police accountability. They mostly rose up and supported the 1994 crime bill.

The James Forman book, "Locking Up Our Own" is the best piece of analysis about what was going on then. I dealt with those folks up close and personal, all the tough on crime black community leaders. There was a woman in Austin named Willie Mae Kirk who was very influential to me on these topics. Her son was Ron Kirk who was the first black mayor of Dallas and later on Clinton's trade representative. So, he had reached such heights that Willie Mae and Austin democratic politics was like royalty. When Ron was mayor of Dallas during the Clinton administration she was all that and Willie Mae couldn't stand me because I was on these topics. Oh, man she was so mad that we even existed but the group pushing for the police monitor and stuff like that. 

She thought if the cops were shooting people they were shooting the people who needed to get shot. Where she was coming from and I spent a lot of time trying to understand where Willie Mae was coming from because she was a good hearted person. She was not mean. She wasn't somebody who you would dismiss. But where she was coming from was she didn't live far from here. Where she was coming from was crime in east Austin was rampant and the main victims were black people. There does need to be a baseline level of safety for anyone to enjoy freedom, for anyone to enjoy liberty, for your freedom to mean anything, right? If the strong just rule the weak, then it doesn't matter if the government's not oppressing you. You're just on your own in a sea of chaos and the strong will rule the weak.

She wasn't wrong to complain about the street violence and the fact that this neighborhood and we had this interview at my house in east Austin where I've lived for 30 years. That this neighborhood was really a rough place to be in the 90s. For someone like her, an elderly woman, a little scary to be in. Understandably it was a little scary for me. There were moments that were scary for me and I'm a six foot 200 pound plus white guy. So, she convinced me that it is not an illegitimate concern for black folks to want security in their neighborhoods right? That her availing herself of her civil rights and the benefits of a free society require a baseline level of security that was not being provided in the 1990s in this neighborhood. So that's the balance. I feel like when you say abolish the police, it sounds trite, but the question becomes, well what about those true security questions, right? I mean it's one thing to say, "Well you're just arresting people who are drug addicts and really they need drug treatment. Well this is about mentally ill person. Really we need more mental health treatment." 

But sometimes the strong just rule the weak and abuse power. What do you do then? And so I feel like that those policing functions are legitimate and some of these others are not. It's one of the reasons that I'm interested in this distinction of how patrol was grafted onto the policing model as its separate thing, right? When someone comes and says, "I was victimized." Someone comes to the government and says, "I was raped. I was beaten. Someone was murdered. Something bad happened." I think it's legitimate for people to have an expectation that the government is going to assist in providing some baseline level of security there. But I feel like that this patrol function where we just go out and look to see if we can find you doing something and we're going to pull you over and roust you and that has led to a lot of illegitimate policing functions. So that's where I would land on that. I'm somebody who wants policing scaled way, way back. I want them taken out of mental health. I want them taken out of addiction. For the most part I want them taken out of domestic violence. Most circumstances, dealing with the homeless. Don't need the cops for that. Most things I want them to not participate in. There are a few things where I think okay, somebody has to if it isn't a cop it's going to have to be somebody.

Chas Moore: No yeah and I agree with that. I think for me, and I agree with a lot of what you just said, I think for me for the Willie Mae Kirk's and that particular generation that either woefully or maybe they did it on purpose, they supported the '94 crime bill. I get their concerns, right? I'm going to be old one day and I'm going to be the not so strong and I'll be vulnerable and I would hope that there's this institution or thing that if I needed them I can call them. But I'm hopeful that we can get to a place where we as a society can respond to even the people that are committing harm and "crime" again. Because crime is something that I think we also need to reimagine, right? Is jaywalking really a crime? Is giving somebody a ticket for walking across the street because the light isn't a certain color? But anyways that's a whole other conversation. 

But I do think for me it comes down to this basic humanity that we are our greatest resource, outside of the earth which we're killing and we can't afford to throw one another away. We can't afford to throw one another in cages, in prisons and we can't afford to have some of us think we have so much more authority over another because we put our hand on the bible and took an oath. I think we have to understand that people that are committing violent crimes and that are causing harm are people too. I think it's a way for us to react to those in a way that does not call for the way we have police today. But I agree. I'm not saying let's not have this group of individuals or community individuals that respond to crisis or harm.

But I think the way that we respond to crisis and harm today is just unacceptable and depending on what you look like. You could be the one calling this thing for help and end up dead, right? Because the way this institution works today through whatever fake news or whatever, through historical context of how we talk about black people in this country, whatever through case may be. People in the current institutions of policing all around the country and possibly world when they see black people they automatically think something bad is going to happen and I have to mitigate the situation because then they say the line, because my life was at ... I fear for my life, whatever they say.

Scott Henson: Chas the changes to Austin's police budget have simultaneously been undersold and oversold I would say. The governor and Matt Mackowiak at the local Republican party want to portray the cuts as crippling and Draconian while critics on the left called for zeroing out the police budget in four years and say these cuts fall short of that goal. At the Austin Justice Coalition you called for $100 million in cuts. Be honest, when you call for cuts that large could you point to what you wanted to cut at that moment?

Chas Moore: Absolutely not. No, no way. I just knew as a leading voice in the movement here and as a strategist, we couldn't just keep saying defund the police, defund the police. We have to put an amount on it. Luckily I just work with some amazing people that trust me and I said, "What about $100 million?" Everybody was scratching their heads and they said, "Sure." So we put that out and for about two weeks luckily and sadly I guess I could say the media didn't ask us how we get that. So that gave us time to work and do the math and do the work so we could actually show how we do that. But yeah, I was just thinking what's a good place to start to show that the city cares about Black Lives Matter. That it cares about the communities affected by policing. I think $100 million out of $440 million is a pretty big chunk of change.

Scott Henson: It absolutely is. Well, now to be clear they only ended up actually, the actual cut, cut was only 21 million. I feel like a lot of the backlash from the governor and some of this has been based on the assumption of, "Oh, no you cut one third of the police department budget." Well no, we cut less than five percent of the police department budget. So talk through what was actually done because there's been so much misinformation and people pretending that, "Oh, we're going to cut the crime labs and we're going to cut internal affairs." But that's not really what happened, what's happening. So describe what was actually done.

Chas Moore: Yeah, yeah. But I would argue that yes that's the immediate cuts. The immediate cuts come from the cadet classes that we won't be having right? 

Scott Henson: That's because the cadet process was all messed up and they have to revamp the training right? 

Chas Moore: Yeah, yeah. Well that and the police department, right? Even if we had the most amazing cadet training, we still have a very shitty police department right? So it's a meme of the little dog drinking his coffee in the house where he's like, "Oh, this is fine." Why would you bring people into this type of shit show. So it was like let's just take a break on adding more people into this burning house and that's where I think 20, 21 million of the immediate cuts come from. But, again like the 80 million that comes from what Greg and the mayor have called decoupling, to all the things that people were so nervous about. Victim services, forensics, the 911 call center. Those budgets, none of that is being cut, it's just not in the police department anymore, right? So it's not in the police department's budget. But all those departments are still going to be fully functional, they'll just be independent of the police department. But I think it's also important to note that that money won't be going back to the police department in forever, hopefully if we keep it that way.

Then I think the part that we have to be diligent about is the part, the last part. The $47 million that comes from the re-imagining public safety part. I'm on the taskforce for that with Kathy, Chris Harris, Emily Gerrick, a lot of amazing people. That's where we as a community and city officials get to hopefully really reimagine not only safety, but public safety and create new institutions or affinity groups whatever you want to call it, that can respond to some of the things that we mentioned earlier, right? You and I agree we don't need cops for substance abuse. We don't need cops for all domestic violence situations. We definitely don't need cops for homelessness. Like that $47 million will then go into investing in these new things that we create and that money hopefully, one hopefully we can use every dime of it so none of it goes back to the police department. But that money also won't be going back to the police department either, right?

I mean, but yeah defund, decouple whatever you want to call it. The plan is for this money not to go back to the police department.

Scott Henson: Well it's a big reorganization of the department. I mean that's the thing I feel like is getting missed in a lot of the discussions that okay, having the crime lab be independent is different from not having a crime lab.

Chas Moore: Yeah, absolutely.

Scott Henson: And some of the demagoguery just assumes that people here are just going to blow things up and that's absolutely not the case.

Chas Moore: Yeah and I think another thing to note too is that not one cop was fired in the result of this budget stuff. That didn't ... The police department didn't lose one officer because of the city council vote. Now if they left on their own will, hey whatever. But there was nothing that called for any cuts to any personnel in the current police department right now, right? So that was another message that came from out of nowhere because I think you just wrapped it up beautifully. It's all about saying maybe we don't need the police to do these things. Maybe we should try to let other people do these things because clearly when they do it somebody gets killed or raped or something right? We need to have people that can respond to crisis and harm without causing more crisis and harm. That's what the vote was all about and that's why it was a big deal.

Scott Henson: Of course Greg Abbott responded to the Austin budget cuts by holding a press conference in Fort Worth where at first he announced that they were going to seek revenue caps for Austin to punish them for this and then more recently former state Representation Terry Keel and Ron Wilson out of Houston who's a black democrat strangely enough, came out with this weird proposal to have the Department of Public Safety take over the Austin Police Department in retaliation for these cuts. I feel like this at this point has become a political football that has very little to do with what actually was done, right? I mean the amount of actual cutting that's happening is so small that that can't be the real concern. But it's become this hair on fire situation. I'm less concerned about that than a lot of people to be honest. I feel like first off if democrats take control the Texas house it's not happening at all. It's just not occurring.

I feel like right now the police union is making noises like they're supportive of that idea because they want to spite the city council. But they don't really support that because look at what DPS troopers make compared to Austin Police Department. They don't want their salary in the hands of people who think they should be paid 20,000 a year less than they are. So, I feel like the politics of actually having that happen seem very unlikely to me. 

Chas Moore: Yeah and to me on a very basic level, any state representative, state legislator that is willing to limit their own local municipalities from making money because of what they choose to do around public safety, that's political suicide. That doesn't make sense to me. So, the more I think about it, I think this is all Republican fear mongering and jargon because as much as I am not looking forward to this election for a lot of different reasons, I have noticed that the republicans efforts to demean and to come after Joe Biden are not really working. So they're trying all this other stuff, right? I think if you look and listen close enough I think the republicans are very much trying to get back to this law and order type of vision and framework. So, all that what Governor Abbott is talking about falls into that, right? 

He actually tweeted today I think back the blue, which up until that point I was like, "You know what, I would love to talk to the governor about these issues because I do still believe in civility." But people that say back the blue, if you say back the blue you're just a racist period. That's all that means. When people say blue, there's no such thing as a blue life. That's not a life, that's an occupation.

Scott Henson: Right.

Chas Moore: I don't get to go home and take off my black skin and be another version of Chas. 

Scott Henson: Put the uniform in the closet.

Chas Moore: Right, right and just go watch Frasier for the night. So I think the fact that the governor is clearly drawn the line in the sand and shown us where he stands is something that's very interesting. But I'm hopeful that our lawmakers are not going to go into this weird state over ... First of all it's anti-Republican right? They believe in little government. So, now you're telling me the government is going to control how we do things? I don't know it's just very interesting. 

Scott Henson: Now it's time for our rapid fire section called the last horah. Chas are you ready? 

Chas Moore: I'm in let's do it.

Scott Henson: So Austin Justice Coalition commissioned an analysis of Austin's 911 call center data and found that two-thirds of officer time is spent on things that aren't crimes. What are the implications of this finding? 

Chas Moore: Cops don't do what we think they do. That's the answer. In Dallas, Police Chief Renee Hall, a black woman, came under fire because an after action report following the George Floyd protest seemed to exonerate officers for alleged misconduct and accused protests of warrants and violence. In overstated terms did she deserve the criticism?

Scott Henson: I felt sorry for Renee Hall because honestly generations and generations of white police chiefs in Dallas have been feeding the media a line of horseshit and just expecting them to believe it and they always did and no one every questioned them. She fed them a line of horseshit and it really was horseshit, but the world has changed and people aren't accepting that from the police anymore. So, in a way I feel sorry for her, but a new day has dawned, you know? Okay last one. In Houston last month members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus unveiled Texas George Floyd active press conference for Floyd's family. The bill would restrict use of deadly force, eliminate qualified immunity for state civil rights suits, but not federal ones. Require corroboration for undercover officers in drug stings and finally ban most class C misdemeanor arrests. A provision that was stripped out of the 2017 Sandra Bland Act. What do you think of this bill Chas and what are its chances of passing?

Chas Moore: I think the bill is definitely a step in the right direction. I think it's full of things that we've been asking for and fighting for, for years at the pink dome. I'm hopeful that this year because of the political climate that we can actually get some criminal justice reform. But the way our governor is acting I have no idea.

Scott Henson: That is totally the wild card. You're 100% right about that. Well all right, we're out of time but we'll try and do better the next time. Until then this is Scott Henson with Just Liberty. 

Chas Moore: I'm Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition. 

Scott Henson: You can subscribe to the Reasonably Suspicious Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Podcast or Soundcloud or listen to it on my blog Grits For Breakfast. We'll be back next month with more and hopefully better news. Until then keep fighting for criminal justice reform, it's the only way it's going to happen. 

Chas Moore: Shout out to my team at Austin Justice Coalition and all our volunteers. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to leave this here...