Posts Tagged with
Crime and Justice

A student films a staged traffic stop in front of the Rotunda as part of the Youth, Blue & U project designed to bring local youths and studentscloser to police officers. (Photos by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Police and students can learn from one another if they talk more, according to Batten's Brian N. Williams, an associate professor of public policy.

Relational policing is at an inflection point. The public’s trust and confidence in this vital institution of democracy is suffering. This has had a corrosive impact on police morale and has sparked public protests in Charlottesville and Albemarle County – and, indeed, in communities across the nation. On August 19-20, 2021, the Batten School brought together a cross-section of community leaders and engaged citizens for a workshop to learn about and consider new pathways forward for policing on Grounds, in Charlottesville, and across Albemarle County. 

A woman holds up a portrait of George Floyd as people gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center on April 9, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is taking place.

In a commentary for Bloomberg Law, Batten's Brian N. Williams and co-author Carmen J. Williams, a third-year law student at the UVA School of Law, say the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd marks a turning point. The path forward requires enacting needed reforms and courageous leadership by prosecutors and others.

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Throughout our history, the years immediately following military conflicts have often proved rich in reform.

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Through the Central Virginia Listening & Learning Exchange, Batten professor Brian Williams and his students are examining the problems of police and community relations and what can be done to resolve them.

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“Congressman Lewis exemplifies citizen leadership,” said Allan Stam, former dean of the Batten School. “From his days as a student leader to his co-founding of SNCC to his long career as an elected official, he has selflessly served the public good."

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Batten Associate Professor of Public Policy Dr. Brian N. Williams, discusses police-community relations, the Black Lives Matter movement, and equal justice through understanding as a guest on The Finch Podcast. 

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“We’re at the intersection of past and present—and we're teetering a bit,” Batten professor Brian N. Williams told an online audience last week. “Evolution or revolution? Reform or riot? Progress or more protests? Should we defund and divest or deconstruct and reconstruct?”

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What can America’s higher education system do to reduce the use of excessive force among police? As a public policy scholar who examines the interplay between race, policing and public governance, I see multiple things that colleges and universities can do to make a difference.