(Panel discussion transcript).

PositionSt. Thomas Law Review Symposium on Race and Policing in America

The symposium was moderated by Professor andre douglas pond cummings of University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.

Daniel Gabuardi: Good morning everyone, and welcome to the St. Thomas Law Review Symposium on Race and Policing in America. My name is Daniel Gabuardi, I am the Law Review Article Solicitation Editor and Host for today's event. I want to begin by thanking our panelists for joining us today, and for the audience taking their time to be a part of this event.

I would also like to remind everyone in the audience that the program for today's event is located in the message function of the Zoom, and that questions can be asked through the Q and A function on the Zoom. Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to St. Thomas Law Review's Editor-in-Chief Daniela Tenjido.


Daniela Tenjido: Thank you. Good morning everyone, welcome to the Spring Symposium. Thank you for being here. As Daniel said, I have the privilege of serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. One of the purposes of our Law Review is to advance debate within the legal community, and after the events of last year including most notably the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and all the other conversations about race and racism that were happening in our country, the Law Review decided that for its 33rd volume, if there was a debate that needed to be advanced it had to be the state of race and policing in our country. With that being said, a huge thank you to our authors and our panelists for their knowledge and willingness to share with us all, and now I would like to introduce the Dean of the St. Thomas University College of Law, Dean Tamara Lawson. She is a scholar in this area herself and someone who continues to be a huge support to the Law Review and its mission. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the program.

Dean Lawson: Thank you, and good morning to everyone. I'm thrilled to be here, I'm thrilled to be part of the welcome and introduction of this important Symposium as the Law Review has already said. I want to echo the thanks and welcome that they just gave you, and the importance of this particular topic.

I want to recognize their hard work, including their faculty advisor, Professor Donald Tibbs, who has worked tirelessly with them and bringing together a panel of experts from across the nation. I'm well aware of their expertise, some of whom I have worked with myself on panels like this, but I agree with the Law Review that today is a different day and it is a different moment, we are at a different point of our discussion, some of us have been in this discussion for quite a long time.

But this symposium today is even happening in the backdrop of the active case, criminal case, pending on one of the most important killings of this discussion and maybe the one killing that could have, maybe, turned the country's attention to this important issue in a new way.

I'm so thrilled to hear our panelists, our experts, our scholars, enlighten us further. I know there has been discussion that, the summer of 2020 was a moment of awakening to racism and an awakening to racism as it relates to policing, but there is a lot of scholarly expertise that still needs to be discussed and shared with the larger community.

Again, I'm thrilled--we have over two hundred participants joining us already, I expect that we will have even more. Again, I thank these experts for joining us, I thank the Law Review for convening this important discussion and I believe this will be something that St. Thomas University College of Law will be in the discussion on for decades to come. This represents, additionally, our demographic, and our mission, as we continue to strive to impact diversity in the legal profession. So, without further ado--I'm thrilled, couldn't sleep well last night because I knew this panel was kicking it off today. So thank you, everyone.

Daniel Gabuardi: Thank you, Daniela and Dean Lawson, for your remarks. I would now like to introduce our moderator Professor andre douglas pond cummings in our first panel, the authors of 'Meek Mill's Trauma: Brutal Policing as an Adverse Childhood Experience,' by Professor Todd Clark, Caleb Conrad, Judge Amy Dunn Johnson, and Professor andre douglas pond cummings. Professor cummings, take it away.


Professor cummings: Good morning. We could not more delighted to be spending these early hours with you this morning on this issue that is so critical as Dean Lawson just mentioned. As Daniel just indicated, I am Professor andre cummings, I am a professor of law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.

I'm truly energized by the opportunity that we have today to really talk about the groundwater problems that exist in policing in America, and I want to begin today by suggesting my older brother, may his soul rest in peace, was a police officer before he passed away a couple of years ago. We have a deep respect for the individuals that do this difficult work of policing in America.

This panel ultimately is how we can police minority communities better and in a safer way and in a way where we can avoid the tragedies that, as Dean Lawson mentioned, exist in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the killer of George Floyd. So, at the backdrop, we're coming at this from a place of deep respect, the recognition of importance and yet, a recognition that much needs to be done to change the way that our police engage, particularly with minority communities in the United States.

I wanted to begin also by thanking Daniel Gabuardi, the Symposium Editor of St. Thomas Law Review, Daniela Tenjido, the Editor-in-Chief of the St. Thomas Law Review, Dean Tamara Lawson, and the St. Thomas University College of Law, and in particular Dr. Donald Tibbs, the advisor of the Law Review.

This is an exciting opportunity for, as Dean Lawson mentioned, us as scholars to engage these really important topics. I could not be, as I said earlier, more delighted to share this platform today with my co-authors: Dean Amy Johnson, Deputy Prosecutor Caleb Conrad, and Professor Todd Clark.

Amy, did I just call you Dean Amy Johnson? Yeah, she--well, she is Dean to most of us, but ultimately her work right now is as a judge. I wanted to introduce the panelists quickly before I turn it over to them.

Caleb Conrad is a Deputy Prosecutor in Arkansas, a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. He graduated undergrad from the University of Arkansas and is a terrific, brilliant, recent law student, but current Deputy Prosecutor in the vein, hopefully, of Larry Krasner and some of those progressive prosecutors that are changing the way we prosecute in the United States.

Judge Amy Dunn Johnson, for the last ten or fifteen years, lead the Arkansas Access to Justice, a terrific legal aid commission in Arkansas. She is a graduate of Hendrix College in Arkansas as well, as a University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. We're very proud of her, as one of our alums. Judge Amy Johnson just won a seat on the 6th Judicial District to serve as a family court judge in the Pulaski area in Arkansas. And I can't tell how thrilling it is for me to think that someone that engages on these topics that we'll discuss so deeply is a judge on the bench, that will adjudicate with compassion and with empathy and within an understanding of these issues.

Also, my good friend and colleague, Todd Clark, you all know him well at St. Thomas. Todd Clark is a professor of law at the St. Thomas University College of Law, graduated from Wittenberg University and the University of Pittsburgh Law School, also has a master's degree from West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. And as many of you know that--that may sit in Professor Todd Clark's classrooms--is one of the most dynamic and visionary law professors that I know.

And so, with that introduction, I'm delighted to turn the next five minutes over to Caleb Conrad who is going to kick off our discussion and our topic is 'Meek Mill's Trauma: Brutal Policing as an Adverse Childhood Experience.' So, before Caleb kicks it off, we thought that it would probably wise for us to actually spend a little time with Meek Mill.

This is Meek Mill's 'Trauma' video, and as you watch it, I want you to pay attention to the types of traumas that Meek Mill discusses that he experienced as a young child growing up, and even some of the trauma he's experienced as one of the iconic hip-hop pioneers of our day. So, let's pay a little bit of attention to Meek Mill and his video 'Trauma'.

[Meek Mill's Video playing] [0:10:00] to [0:14:10]

Professor cummings: As my students, that may be joining us from Arkansas, know, and my colleagues at the University of Arkansas, our panel requires a parental advisory sticker, so I probably should have mentioned that before we showed the video. But with all of that said, and with the depth that I think Meek Mill describes trauma in that particular video, would like now to turn the table over to Caleb Conrad to start our conversation. Caleb.

Caleb Conrad: Thank you Professor cummings, and I am so happy to be here today. Judge Johnson is actually sharing her screen of what is a current adverse childhood experience screener that physicians use to screen for childhood trauma. Today, ACEs are broken down into seven to ten categories, generally, as you will see broken down on this screener. And Judge Johnson, do you want to just introduce the poll that we're going to conduct?

Judge Johnson: Sure, so this is a tool that was originally developed to be able to assess the number of traumas that, you know, in evaluating the degree of trauma that people experienced, looking at how many of these events have happened in a person's life before they reach the age 18. And in taking this poll, I mean it's completely voluntary, it...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT