Collision or Cooperation: Policing and Race

Thomson_Chapman-Interview-2-690x450Last week the Loudoun Tribune sat down with Loudoun’s top cop Mike Chapman and local NAACP president Phillip Thompson, to talk about policing, traffic stops, Black Lives Matter and more. The following are excerpts of that conversation.

Are relations between the African-American community and local police worse than in the recent past, or are incidents more visible thanks to body cams, cell phone cameras, YouTube and the 24/7 news cycle?

THOMPSON: Nationwide you’ve seen acts of violence against unarmed black men where there have been no consequences. When there are no consequences there is a concern that it’s open season. When you fly in a plane you’re taught to believe it’s safe until you see pictures of a plane crash. Then you start thinking about how safe it is. It’s the same thing with violence against young black men. Seeing it on television makes us feel less safe, and that adds to the perception that there’s a problem between law enforcement and the African-American community.

With everything going on, we haven’t had an act of racial violence here in Loudoun and my goal is to make sure it doesn’t happen.

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NAACP leader calls Loudoun County Public Schools’ diversity training ‘a joke’

In response to community criticism over the lack of diversity of its teaching staff, Loudoun County Public Schools is offering a “diversity training workshop” to all of its hiring managers this summer. A local NAACP leader says the effort is “a joke.”

LCPS_SealThe Loudoun chapter of the NAACP began pressing the school system to be more aggressive in hiring minority teachers in November when a school district report showed 88 percent of its teachers are white while 48 percent of its students are non-white. A community meeting on the subject was hosted by the school division and two parent groups in December. Shortly after the meeting, the School Board added money to its budget for the summer diversity training and to hire a personnel specialist to focus on the issue. The Loudoun NAACP says the school system’s latest efforts are not enough to combat the problem. The group says it plans on filing federal complaints about various “racial inequities” within the school system.

Read more in the Loudoun Times-Mirror

Thompson: Tolerance or Intolerance? Racial issues in schools warrant action by LCPS

Over the last 15 months since taking over as President of the Loudoun County NAACP, our organization has watched Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) flail its way through a series of racially charged issues with seeming abstinence to the fact that there is a community out here that is not only LCPS_Sealimpacted by its decisions, but, more importantly is paying attention to those decisions. As with the attempt to name a public school after a long dead racist segregationist or the perceived effort to re-segregate schools in Leesburg, it seemed that the decision makers in LCPS either believed that the residents were not paying attention to their proposals or that maybe they could not read or conduct basic research on the facts. Either way, in both instances, when the public raised concerns, some of these decision makers decided to attack the people questioning these proposals instead of listening to the community’s concerns.

Read more in the Loudoun Times-Mirror