Q & A: Race and Justice

Q&A Session for Challenging Conversations Series: "Race and Justice in America"

All questions were submitted to the panelists. We have not yet received responses from Public Defender Christopher Gardner. For full transparency, we are including all questions, whether or not they have been answered.

1:12 PM Samuel Edison
Q: Why do the Police unions continue to defend the officers involved?

Martinez: I believe most police unions want to ensure that their members are afforded due process before any discipline is vetted out. The Minnesota case was so egregious that most all police unions immediately condemned the act.

1:12 PM Suzabelle Spaulding
Q: Thank you for inviting students. My question for everyone is "What is being done to stop systemic racism?"

Martinez: At the Redlands Police Department, we are constantly looking at our practices so as not to partake in any systemic racism.

1:12 PM Pamela Allen
Q: Disportionately more contact with LE per capita for Black People

1:14 PM Shiloh Catanese
Q: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/us/rayshard-brooks-atlanta-shooting-wednesday/index.html 

1:14 PM Dareyl Coleman
Q: What does it matter if we what the video frame by frame ...they shot an unarmed man in the back who was running from the officer?

Martinez: On any shooting investigation, it is imperative that detectives analyze the entire scenario. From first glance, the video appears to depict Brooks pointing a Taser at the officer. At some point the officer draws his weapon and shoots Brooks. When looking at the video in real-time, it appears the shots fired occurred immediately after Brooks pointed the Taser. Slowing down the video and going frame by frame will make sure that investigators and the prosecutors tasked with adjudicating the case have a complete understanding of how the incident played out. 

1:17 PM Dareyl Coleman
Q: Isn't racial bias taught in the academy?

Martinez: Cultural diversity and ethics courses are included in the academy. We believe the topics could be considered to be a perishable skill and periodically discuss the topics.

1:24 PM Pamela Allen
Q: Almost 9 minutes could he form intent during the act. Like 1 or 2 minutes in? Its so hard to prove intent

12:24 PM Kimberly Anasco
Q: Could you please explain qualified immunity in layman's terms and how it tends to protect police officers from accusations of misconduct and excessive force?

Martinez: Qualified immunity is designed to protect all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law. Law enforcement officers are entitled to qualified immunity when their actions do not violate a clearly established statutory or constitutional right.

1:28 PM Suzabelle Spaulding
Q: In your opinion, what is most needed, law reform or police reform? If laws are being used to rationalize murder now.

Martinez: I believe a combination of both will be most effective.  

1:29 PM Christine Renner
Q: Officer Martinez - are there any national standards for police disciplinary measures to monitor or remove unfit officers?

Martinez: Currently, there is no system on the national level. Agencies manage this information locally. There is a discussion about implementing a national registry for officers that were fired due to excessive force

1:29 PM Susan Skoglung
Q: Do you publish information about officers disciplined for excessive force?

Martinez: In California, the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights prevents any public disclosure of discipline.  

1:32 PM Pamela Allen
Q: It will take a complete dismantling of the current system. This is system is built to keep prisons full to continue slave labor. 

1:33 PM Gavi Dhariwal
Q: What are Chief Martinez's thoughts on the National Database policy? How helpful will it be? Will we see immediate success or is it a long term thing?

Martinez: I fully support the idea of a National Registry. Here at Redlands PD, if somebody resigns before an internal investigation (IA) is complete, we will finish the IA and place the findings in the personnel file of the employee, which would make it available to potential future employers upon proper review.  

1:38 PM Susan Skoglund
Q: How effective do you believe proactive policing is given Attorney Gardner's concern about its downside?

Martinez: Proactive policing is extremely effective if done the right way. In some of the major cities, we are seeing unprecedented violence committed by firearms. I believe, a couple weekends ago, Chicago had 18 murders and dozens of other shootings. I do believe it is possible to proactively police without racial profiling. 

1:40 PM Dareyl Coleman
Q: To clarify, it is my understanding that the practice targets are people of color; thus teaching racial bias. This has been confirmed by those who have gone thru the police academy.

Martinez: Please clarify your question.

1:43 PM Hallie Brown
Q: What does the Diversity class consist of in Redlands PD? For example, how long is it, what topics are covered, etc.

Martinez: In the academy, it is an 8 hour course focusing on cultural issues. Post academy classes range from 8-24 hours. 

1:44 PM Joy Clark
Q: Does RPD recruit officers from out of state? Studies have shown that when Law Enforcement agencies bring in officers that are not familiar with the area they are not familiar with, these types of accidents occur. 

Martinez: RPD does not recruit out of state. We are always looking for people who have ties to the Redlands community. 

1:47 PM Kayla Wobschall
Q: Thank you for hosting. I hope that people continue to show up for difficult conversations. I do think that this session was a bit heavy on the police perspective. I think people want to hear less about the RPD, more about U of R's action plan. 

1:48 PM Deborah McCart
Q: There are psychological assessments available to help identify candidates' biases and potential for prejudice actions. Would it violate the rights of candidates for public service (whether police or other government jobs) if those became mandatory?

Martinez: As part of the background process in California, each officer undergoes a psychological assessment. 

1:48 PM Lisa O'Leary
Q: Redlands Alumni here ... It is my understanding body cameras on officers are optional. Please correct me if I am wrong. What are your thoughts on requiring all police officers to wear body cameras? 

Martinez: RPD is supportive of having officers wear BWCs, however, the funding has not been available.

1:48 PM Suzabelle Spaulding
Q: Can there be "citizen advocates" or as Trump mentioned in his speech, "co-responders" to answer complaints of neighbors who call the police when they see someone who they don't know (usually a person of color) instead of sending an officer out with a weapon?

Martinez: Each community would have to decide on what works best for their community.

1:48 PM Peter Tupou
Q:  specific about the institution of policing that is violent. What are your thoughts on training in crisis intervention and de-escalation aimed at finding ways to slow down situations, isolating people so they can’t harm others, and using non-lethal force?

Martinez: Law enforcement should obviously train to de-escalate the incident. Unfortunately, sometimes efforts to de-escalate do not work and officers need to have tools to take somebody into custody that is resisting. I know of numerous incidents where RPD officers took somebody into custody using less-lethal munitions such as a Taser, pepper ball, bean bag, or rubber bullet when the circumstances would have probably justified lethal force.

1:49 PM Elissa Yan
Q: the fact that im the only one here is concerning

Alumni and Community Relations: The settings for our first event were such that attendees could not see the number of other attendees. This caused a good deal of confusion and was changed for other sessions. 

1:49 PM Keith Osajima
Q: Many have talked about the purchase of military equipment as a reason for the escalation of tensions, mistrust and violence in police-community relations? In what ways have you seen this impact your work in the police and public defender's office?

Martinez: RPD did obtain a rescue vehicle from the military for free. We did use some funding to retrofit and paint the vehicle. We have only used it about ten times in the last five years. We routinely use it at community events for children to climb through.

1:47 PM Joy Clark
Q: What is RPD's plan if the 4 officers in MN do not get convicted? Are they working with the university and student and staff leaders to come up with a proper, safe and proactive plan to ensure that the campus community is safe, and able to protest. 

Martinez: The Public Safety Department and RPD routinely collaborate and work together to ensure the safety of the University community. RPD is committed to providing a safe environment for protestors to express their first amendment rights. 

1:49 PM Monica Carrillo
Q: Isnt it true that there is a quota that police have to meet? are they trying to meet their quota by targeting a specific group?

Martinez: This is absolutely not true, at least in California. In California, if a supervisor had a quota for tickets or arrests, severe discipline up to and including termination would be handed out.

1:49 PM Katia Zamora
Q: Thank you for putting together this forum, where we can remove the ackwardness of the conversation and move forward with self-assessments to become better. Where do we go from here? What is the University's commitment toward leading change? 

1:49 PM Elissa Yan
Q: Mr. Jones, as a black man, how does it feel to be speaking to the deputy police chief of RPD and have him have almost no knowledge of the George Floyd case? How does it feel when he describes the murder of an innocent Black man, as the department “dropping the ball?"

Martinez: I respectfully disagree with this statement and would welcome any direct discussion the author would like to engage in

1:49 PM Hannah McAnespie
Q: Christopher and Travis, If either of you could teach or request a class at the University at this time, what would it be? In regards to currents.

Martinez: I would like to see a class that focuses on race and policing.

1:51 PM Winifred Stephany
Q: For the Chief: Do you feel salaries are high enough to attract the kind of officers we want on our police forces? You for example are a college grad, from one of the GREAT institutions. What attracted you to the force?

Martinez: In California, most law enforcement officers make a fair wage in which they can support a family, relatively speaking. At RPD, 57% of the officers possess a college degree. We view the career as a profession. For me, the attraction of helping solve the community’s problems was alluring. I have been fortunate to work in the city I grew up in where many members of my family still reside.  

1:51 PM Elissa Yan
Q: what are the reasons RPD will come on campus when armed? where can we find the MOU between Public Safety and RPD

Martinez: Whenever an officer comes onto campus, he/she will be armed. The University of Redlands Public Safety Office will have a copy of the MOU. 

1:51 PM Dustin VanOverbeke
Q: Does the threat if a taser equal the threat of a gun? If a private citizen shot another one with a taser, would any prosecution call that justified?

Martinez: As somebody that has felt the effects of a Taser, I know that I will be completely immobile for about five seconds if shot with a Taser. After five seconds passes, if the person on the other end of the Taser pulls the trigger again, I will again be incapacitated for five seconds. This will go on until the Taser darts are removed. Depending on the circumstances, a private person could be justified in shooting somebody with a Taser.  

1:52 PM Jeff Martinez
Q: There had been a lot of recent talk about sending mental health counselors and social workers on police calls moving forward. How do feel about the impact that might have in police work?

Martinez: Currently, we have a person from the San Bernardino County of Behavioral Health working out of the Redlands Police Department. This person accompanies officers on pertinent calls and follows up with people that could benefit from their line of work. This has been a very effective partnership.

1:52 PM Keri Then
Q: With calls made to defund police & consideration of the SB terrorist attack, how can PDs ensure the public understands what type of armaments are needed. The disclosure of LAUSD buying a tank seems to be the extreme but what is reasonable?

Martinez: As with any deployment of equipment, I believe there should be guidelines as to when the police can deploy such equipment. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which the “bad guys” have high-powered weapons at their disposal. We have certainly seen high profile incidents in Redlands including the terrorist incident and the Dorner shooting. In order to fully protect the public, law enforcement must have immediate access to equipment that will enable the authorities to protect everybody. RPD has probably only deployed their rescue vehicle in law enforcement missions about ten times in five years.  

1:53 PM Thomas Guzowski
Q: Can you elaborate why police officers do not always have cameras and why they are not always turned on?

Martinez: It is usually a funding issue if police do not have body worn cameras. Most cameras are always recording but will only retain the video if they get activated. Once an officer activates the camera, the camera will usually retain the recording going back two minutes.  

1:53 PM Bruce Rawding
Q: How do we balance the Rule of Law with peaceful protests and from those who seek to take advantage of the situation and loot businesses and personal properties? 

Martinez: https://www.redlandscommunitynews.com/news/how-redlands-police-keep-the-peace-in-tumultuous-times/article_be225b9e-b17d-11ea-b8bc-efc4ad4e6f16.html 

1:53 PM Parker Smith
Q: What is the process when an officer has been found using excessive force?

Martinez: If an officer is found to have used excessive force, the Command Staff will discuss potential discipline.

1:53 PM Elissa Yan
Q: Deputy Police Chief: Where have you been for any and all of the experiences of race based police profiling or aggression towards students of the U of R?

Martinez: Please elaborate on your question as I want to make sure I understand what you are asking. 

1:53 PM Shaon Brown
Q: How far away are we from having body cams be a absolute requirement for officers as well as some way to hold officers accountable if and when they are not turned on?

Martinez: We have requested funding for body worn cameras (BWCs) for the last several years in our budget, but unfortunately the funds are not available. Officers and police administrators both want the cameras. The state may mandate that police departments deploy BWCs but then the state would have to fund them.

1:54 PM Dustin VanOverbeke
Q: I believe that during some of the peaceful protests in Redlands, there were State Patrol posted near the freeway with riot gear. Can Deputy Chief Martinez speak to if they were requested or if Redlands PD had any choice in the matter?

Martinez: Redlands PD did not request any assistance from the State Highway Patrol during any Redlands’ protests which may I add were completely peaceful. We only learned of their presence in real-time. When we learned of their presence, we requested that they do not respond to the demonstration site. The following is a link to an article explaining our protest response philosophy: https://www.redlandscommunitynews.com/news/how-redlands-police-keep-the-peace-in-tumultuous-times/article_be225b9e-b17d-11ea-b8bc-efc4ad4e6f16.html  

1:56 PM Marcina Riley
Q: This question is for the Mr. Martinez. In reading My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem, I became present to how officers can carry stress in their bodies from situation to situation. Is the force being trained in/practicing self-care while on the job?

Martinez: We have an employee assistance program and make counseling available to any officer that needs it. We mandate that an officer speak to a counselor before returning to work after a traumatizing incident.

1:56 PM Rachel Roche
Q: How much money is needed for the RPD to have body cams?

Martinez: We actually have a company that will donate the first year of service. We would need to hire additional personnel to handle the footage. 

1:57 PM Victoria Randall-Hallard
Q: How long do officers need to go through stress training? What reaction do they need to consistently learn to graduate through stress training, and how often do officers need to retake a stress training course?

Martinez: It is an 8 hour course at the Academy. We consistently discuss this topic during informal briefings.

1:59 PM Jessica Mayuga
Q: Will we be able to hear the panelists' answers to the other questions that weren't chosen? Specifically the questions that are more uncomfortable and less pallatable. I believe those are important too. I'm speaking to a number of other alum who are also on this Webex and all of their questions were omitted. 

Alumni and Community Relations: By making the Q&A public, attendees can now see how many questions were submitted during the time frame and why it was not possible to address all of them in the live event.

2:01 PM Dawit Mulugeta-Truenh Aklilu
Q: Can all the questions be visible next time? 

Alumni and Community Relations: The Webex Q&A feature only shows questions to attendees after they are answered. The public chat feature is not an effective way to track questions as there would be too many other comments and potentially inappropriate remarks occurring at the same time.

2:01 PM Jessica Mayuga
Q: I would like to request a repository of the questions asked with identities redacted.

Alumni and Community Relations: We emailed Jessica a copy of these questions with identities redacted. For the transparency that would have occurred in an on-campus discussion, we have included identities in this online repository.