Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: African-Americans treated differently by law enforcement?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 22, 2014 2:02 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, August 25, 2014:

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Ferguson, Missouri has become the latest epicenter of racial strife in this country.

Protests, demonstrations, and violence in the small St. Louis suburb have punctuated the two weeks since an unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer.  Witnesses are offering different accounts of what happened.  Protestors want the police officer charged with a crime for killing the teen, who they believe was trying to surrender.  Supporters of the police officer say he could have believed he was defending himself against a charging suspect.

A Pew Research poll last week found 80% of blacks believe the Ferguson case raises questions about race.   Meanwhile, only 37% of whites think so.

Ferguson has also become a rallying point for blacks who believe they are treated differently than whites by police and the justice system as a whole.  African-Americans often tell stories of being harassed, profiled, and suspected of crimes by police without cause.

On Monday's Smart Talk, we'll look closer at the relationship between minorities, specifically blacks, and the justice system.

Appearing on the program are Sandra Thompson, president of the York NAACP, Susquehanna Township Director of Public Safety Rob Martin, and Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico.


Susquehanna Township Director of Public Safety Rob Martin, Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, and Sandra Thompson president of the York NAACP

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  • John H. img 2014-08-25 07:38

    Watch the TV show "COPS", it will give you a pretty good idea of what law enforcement put up with on a daily basis. The think about how you would respond after several years of putting with the behavior that you'll see on the show; remember Police Officers are human, just like you.

  • Robert D Colgan img 2014-08-25 08:01

    Of course they are.
    This is still a racially divided nation with the long-held carryover consciousness from hundreds of years and dozens of generations of hierarchically separating darker-skinned people from lighter-skinned people and regarding those with darker skin tones as "inferior" beings, or even less than beings, as objects.
    The disproportion --(relative to the populace percentage)-- of darker skinned people in our prisons is all the evidence needed to state unequivocally that Yes, darker people are NOT TREATED the same as lighter people in the USA.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-08-25 08:17

    Jody emails:

    If a specific segment of the population commits the majority of the violent crimes isn't it just good logical reasoning to look at that group more closely.

    What the media calls profiling is just police making the best of limited resources.

  • John H. img 2014-08-25 08:24

    Ok, what about not seeing color?

    • John H. img 2014-08-25 08:27

      Miss Thompson is promoting a double standard. We're told not to see people as a color but as a person, but what she is saying is the exact opposite.

  • alisons img 2014-08-25 08:31

    This conversation is evasive and euphemistic. I wonder why and how you ended up with three white men and one black woman on a panel about how our police relate to black communities! There are black pastors, lawyers, and police officers who might have offered useful comment, but instead of hearing from them, we're stuck listening to Chief Martin touting his department over and over. Hooray for Susquehanna Township, but what about the issues? What about the dead kid? What about The Talk that all black parents must have with their sons about how to avoid "looking guilty". In 2014, why don't white parents have that talk with their children? Let's get down to it!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-08-25 08:37

    Randall emails:

    This is truly a tragedy for everyone involved - BUT lets us discuss this in a fair & equal plane...
    That is do we have all of the facts - is the media responsible for their limited edition reporting ...
    & in the words of the Late Great Paul Harvey - what is the rest of the story???

    First rather then suit the people who are using this tragedy as an excuse - the footage from the store shows this very large man intimidating a little man from whom he has just stolen merchandise - shoving him out of the way in complete disrespect & intimidation.
    Next the amount of shots fired seems when you listen to the media to be excessive - I am not with sufficient knowledge to judge that point - But if the truth is as it is reported the shots where - as the coroner report - two shots in each arm - then two in to the cranium.

    Please ask of the police what control is necessary for these defensive shots to the arms & not the body - let us not judge the police officers response until all of the facts are accounted for by experts not by Fox Style Street Media reporting for sensationalization' of the facts.

  • John H. img 2014-08-25 09:26

    Miss Thompson, all your comments on the dog issue seemed to put all the blame on the officer and none on the young man. Why is that?

    The young man was committing a minor infraction and you write it off as he was being harassed; your attitude demonstrates why the interactions between police and citizens is such a big issue.

  • Chris Brown img 2014-08-25 19:01

    All the exchange about poop is off topic. The unloading and killing of a teenager is what needs addressing. Who has a teenager that has not done something that could be questioned? But is death by six bullets the answer for walking down the middle of a street?? Sorry, I think not.

  • Chris Brown img 2014-08-25 19:07

    All the exchange about poop is off topic. The unloading and killing of a teenager is what needs addressing. Who has a teenager that has not done something that could be questioned? But is death by six bullets the answer for walking down the middle of a street?? Sorry, I think not.

  • Chris Brown img 2014-08-25 19:19

    Off topic with all the dog poop. The conversation should be unloading on a teenager?