Muir BSU Hosts Forum on Police and Race

Black Student Union president Keeya Cotlage (center) poses with panelists (l to r) Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez, attorney Joe Hopkins, Pasadena Deputy Police Chief Darryl Qualls, Muir teacher Manuel Rustin, Pasadena NAACP president Gary Moody and Muir senior Shaka Terry. Current and former Pasadena police officers sat with Muir students at the forum.Muir BSU faculty advisor Roland Bynum and BSU president Keeya Cotlage extended thanks to everyone who participated in the forum.Members of the John Muir High School Black Students Union pose with panel participants after the forum. A capacity crowd of students filled the Frank R. Walkup Library at John Muir High School for the Black Student Union forum on police/community interaction. John Muir High School Black Student Union president Keeya Cotlage opened the forum and introduced the panel.  Later, she explained why many youth of color distrust police. Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez discussed the department\'s diversity and its efforts to strengthen the public’s trust through transparency and community engagement.  Sanchez also addressed the PPD\'s policies for disciplining officers involved in misconduct. Using his T-shirt as a visual aid, Muir student Shaka Terry stated that black and Latino teens should not be negatively profiled because of their fashion choices. Pasadena NAACP president Gary Moody acknowledged issues surrounding local police incidents including the Kendrec McDade tragedy. Moody also touched on street crime and challenged young people to conduct themselves legally and intelligently during encounters with police. John Muir High School history teacher Manuel Rustin (left) spoke on the nationwide prevalence of racially biased policing, institutional racism, the systemic roots of gang violence and  minority youth being unfairly profiled due to their style of dress. Attorney Joe Hopkins urged Muir students to hold protests as well as discussions. Hopkins also admonished black youth for celebrating aspects of the criminal lifestyle through hip hop culture.Sharing the frustration that other African-American males feel due to racial profiling, Pasadena Police Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls stated,

CAMERON TURNER

11:42 am | December 16, 2014


In line with the nationwide outcry over the killing of African-American males by police officers in Ferguson, MO, New York City and elsewhere the John Muir High School Black Student Union (BSU) organized a forum to address interactions between police and minority communities. A capacity crowd of students and faculty filled the Frank R. Walkup Library on the Muir campus for a panel discussion with the Pasadena Police Department’s two top-ranking officers, Chief Phillip Sanchez and Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls. The panel also included Pasadena NAACP president Gary Moody, attorney Joe Hopkins, Muir history teacher Manuel Rustin and Muir senior Shaka Terry.

Also in attendance at the Muir BSU forum: John Muir High School principal Tim Sippel, PUSD Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald, PUSD Board member Tyron Hampton and a sizable delegation from the Pasadena Police Department including Lt. Tracey Ibarra (adjutant to Chief Sanchez), Lt. Cheryl Moody (Regional Vice-President for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives), and retired Lt. Rodney D. Wallace.

Explaining the objective of the forum, Black Student Union faculty adviser Roland Bynum stated, “The students originally wanted to stage a walkout, as called for in a widely circulated social media message. But we decided that a conversation directed toward constructive action would have a greater long term benefit.”

John Muir High School, 1905 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, (626) 396-5600 or visit muir.pasadenausd.org.