Panel to discuss racial bias and police-community relations in Minnesota

In the wake of the Ferguson police shooting and to raise awareness during Human Rights Week, Dec. 3-10, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Macalester College will host a panel discussion Thursday on racial bias in law enforcement and community-police relations.

The 1:30 p.m. discussion is at Macalester’s Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, at Snelling and Grand in St. Paul.

They’re calling it “Beyond Assumptions: Police-Community Relations.”

Scheduled panelists, who will discuss effective police community relations and the importance of outreach efforts in ensuring effective neighborhood policing and community health, are:

  • U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger
  • St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith
  • Mohamed Farah, Executive Director of Ka Joog, a program for Somali-American youth

And William Mitchell College of Law Professor Sarah Deer, a recent MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Grant” recipient, will discuss racial bias in law enforcement.

Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey called the forum “an opportunity to discuss issues and solutions regarding police and community relations that is not limited to any one community or jurisdiction.”

The Human Rights Department is also hosting a day-long symposium Dec. 10, as part of the 50-year anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Workshops will focus on employment, public policy, emerging issues, employment law and business and economic development.

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