New Commander of District Where Freddie Gray Died Has Different Take on Policing
Says arrests are not always the best solution and that police and community have to find common ground
STEPHEN JANIS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, TRNN: It was another discussion among many over the past months in Baltimore regarding the now toxic relationship between the police and the community.
JILL CARTER, MARYLAND STATE DELEGATE: You know, politics is the only relationship that I’ve seen where people are encouraged to love their abusers.
JANIS: A dialog at the University of Baltimore, which included the nice of the legendary civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Alveda King, who echoed the past words of her uncle, calling for peace in the city.
ALVEDA KING, AUTHOR/ACTIVIST: My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.
JANIS: But during the debate, a voice often missing from the discussion emerged with an unusual message. The newly-appointed commander of the Western District where Freddie Gray was arrested and later died offered a very different perspective on policing than the get-tough strategy espoused by her colleagues.
CAPTAIN SHEREE BRISCOE, BALTIMORE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Because sometimes you can come into a situation and you can say, now, I have the power to arrest them because the legitimate, legal powers granting me that. But is it practical in this moment or situation?
JANIS: Captain Sheree Briscoe promised the audience a different philosophy of enforcement that she says needs to be less rigid and more community-oriented.
BRISCOE: Because regardless of the profession, regardless of whether or not you are a citizen or a police officer, or a community [activist], we are people first. And I think in very many aspects we lose sight of humanity and its needs. The fundamental need to be respected. The fundamental need to be safe. The fundamental need to be treated [appropriately].
JANIS: All this took place against a backdrop of more city cops claiming the lack of aggressive policing, like the tactics that ensnared and ultimately led to the death of Gray, is a reason the city’s homicide rate is up 40 percent this year. Two people whose identity was disguised but claimed to be city police officers appeared on CNN and said cops’ fear of arrest for simply doing their jobs has prompted a pullback and emboldened criminals.
Briscoe offered an entirely different perspective than her alleged counterparts: a promise to pursue a more balanced enforcement strategy with the understanding that those in uniform and those who are not can still find common ground.
BIRSCOE: Getting out and actually talking to people that have the view of I don’t like the police. And after you talk to them and after you hear their one-on-one stories and you understand how they come to that perspective, well, if I behaved that way and if I, Sheree Briscoe, were the person involved, perhaps I wouldn’t like them either.
JANIS: Stephen Janis with Taya Graham, reporting for The Real News Network in Baltimore.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.