Debra Saunders, Real Clear Politics:
Thursday morning’s “Building community trust” roundtable discussion in Oakland, California, with Attorney General Eric Holder, local law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders was designed to “build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.” After brief remarks, Holder and company dismissed the press corps.
It is a courtesy, a Department of Justice spokesman explained, to allow participants to speak more candidly. And I knew that was the plan. Still, it was painful to watch as Holder spoke in favor of “body-worn cameras” for law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line and then effectively turned off media cameras that might have recorded any real dialogue, mayhap, of public officials whose polished images are on the line.
According to an email, Oakland police Chief Sean Whent “shared some of the Oakland Police Department’s ongoing public safety efforts and crime strategies including the (Operation) Ceasefire violence reduction strategy, Procedural Justice training, and (the department’s) involvement in youth mentoring programs.” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf later told me, “It was a dialogue about the issue of community trust, particularly with law enforcement.” A black Oakland police officer talked about growing up in Oakland. A Berkeley High student spoke about “white privilege.” Schaaf said she suggested that camera use during police training might help “to uncover people’s unconscious bias.”