SOURCE ALERT: UM Law Professor Discusses Police Killings in Baton Rouge and Dallas

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This past weekend saw the second incident in less than two weeks of killings of police by African-American men. Both Gavin Long, 29, the alleged shooter of three Baton Rouge police officers, and Micah Johnson, 25, who allegedly killed five Dallas officers, were U.S. military-trained veterans.

Donald Jones

Donald Jones

University of Miami School of Law constitutional and criminal law Professor Donald Jones discusses the state of race relations in America, the impact on communities of both police killings and killings by police. Jones is the author of numerous books on the civil and political rights of minorities including Sex, and Suspicion: The Myth of the Black Male, Fear of a Hip-Hop Planet: America's New Dilemma, and the soon-to-be-published Dangerous Spaces: Beyond the Racial Profile.


Jones is a highly sought after expert and is available for print and broadcast interviews. 

Both of the recent shootings have allegedly been perpetrated by men who were trained by the United States military. What do you think this indicates? 

Military service in Iraq and elsewhere often involves psychological trauma. The fact that several men with military backgrounds apparently been involved with senseless acts of violence raises the question of whether the violence we are seeing is part of a pattern of service-related mental illness. Are we doing enough to address the mental health of our veterans?

With the spate of killings of blacks by law enforcement, there is a rise in us v. them mentality. Are we on the verge of a race war?

The talk of race war is dangerously divisive and uncalled for. The black community like other communities contains people who are mentally challenged, many of whom served in the military. Some of these emotionally troubled individuals have seized upon our racial controversy to act out their personal insanity. These acts of senseless violence do not reflect the views of the majority of blacks who are patriotic, law abiding and well adjusted.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday found that 6 in 10 adults expressed pessimism about race relations. Where do we, as a society, go from here?

A recent Huffington Post poll showed that a majority of whites have no black friends; few know or try to know what black life is like. Compounding this problem of moral distance is the politics of fear: as minorities increasingly approach majority that “equal rights have gone too far." We need a new national dialogue in which the media whites especially white police to come forward to confess their fears, insecurities, and prejudices.
 

CONTACT: Catharine Skipp at 305-773-5801 or cskipp@law.miami.edu