MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
Local law enforcement grapples with reform of police practices.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also today you’ll meet a former prosecuting attorney who switched sides and now defends the accused. He says the prosecution side of the criminal-justice system needs rethinking, too.
Also human rights lawyer Nina Shea on new U.S. policies supporting religious liberty overseas.
BASHAM: It’s Thursday, June 11th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House lawmakers hold hearing on police reform » Lawmakers on Capitol Hill wore masks and sat three seats apart during a hearing Wednesday on police reform.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from civil rights and law enforcement leaders, as well as George Floyd’s brother Philonise.
FLOYD: Honor George and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution and not the problem.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo vowed that he won’t let Floyd’s death be in vain.
ARRADONDO: What our city needs now more than ever is a pathway and a plan that provides hope, reassurance, and actionable measures of reform.
Democrats have introduced sweeping police reform legislation that would make a series of changes on a national level. California Congresswoman Karen Bass wrote the bill.
BASS: It should never be that you could do a chokehold in one city and not in another. There should be basic standards, there should be basic accreditation, there should be continuing education just as there are in so many other professions.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Trump has been reviewing police reform proposals to determine what he can support. She said she hopes to have an announcement soon. But Trump will not agree to House Democrats’ proposal to remove legal shields that protect police from civil lawsuits.
Trump says his administration will not consider renaming bases » McEnany also relayed the president’s response to a push to rename Army bases named after Confederate generals, like Ft. Bragg and Ft. Hood. Trump said those bases have become part of a heritage of victory and freedom.
MCANANY: The United States of America trained and deployed our heroes here and won two world wars.
The president said, therefore, he will “not even consider” renaming them.
Series of attacks target police » As the debate over police reform continues, law enforcement officers have been the victims of a series of recent attacks. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: A sheriff’s deputy was wounded Wednesday while responding to a report of a gunman firing shots at a central California police station.
The gunman fired at the Paso Robles Police Department around 3:45 a.m. Investigators are still searching for the suspect.
The wounded deputy was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
That shooting follows two recent deadly attacks targeting officers in California.
An Air Force sergeant allegedly carried out an attack on Saturday that killed Santa Cruz County sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and injured another deputy.
The FBI is investigating whether he has links to the killing of a federal security officer who was shot outside the U.S. courthouse in Oakland on May 29th.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Fed to continue aid, hold rates through 2022 » Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made clear Wednesday that the Fed will keep doing all it can to limit COVID-19’s damage to the economy. He said it will keep fueling lending programs and continue to buy bonds to keep borrowing rates low.
POWELL: We are deploying these lending powers to an unprecedented extent enabled in large part by financial backing and support by and from the Treasury. We will continue to use these powers forcefully, proactively, and aggressively until we are confident that we are solidly on the road to recovery.
He also forecasted no rate hikes through the end of 2022.
The Fed has cut its benchmark short-term rate to near zero. Keeping its rate ultra-low for more than two more years could make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend enough to sustain an economy.
Fed officials estimate that the economy will shrink 6.5 percent this year, before expanding 5 percent in 2021. They foresee the unemployment rate, now at 13 percent, continuing to fall.
J&J coronavirus vaccine human trials moved up to July » But Powell said the economy likely cannot begin a full recovery until the coronavirus crisis has passed. And labs around the world are working overtime to defeat the virus.
Johnson & Johnson is accelerating human trials of a potential vaccine. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The company initially aimed to start human trials in September. But chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels said “based on the strength of preclinical data we have seen so far and interactions with regulatory authorities” those trials will start next month.
Johnson & Johnson stated earlier this year that if the vaccine proves safe and effective, it could make as many as 900 million doses by April of next year.
Worldwide, more than 100 possible vaccines are in development. And at least 10 are in clinical trials.
The National Institutes of Health has shown optimism over an experimental vaccine from biotech firm Moderna.
The company plans to recruit about 30,000 people when it moves to phase three of its trial next month.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.
Movie theater chains plan to reopen in weeks ahead » Moviegoers may be hearing this again soon …
AUDIO: Please be quiet and courteous to others and silence your cell phones now.
After three months of a near total nationwide blackout, movie theaters are preparing to reopen.
Cinemark Theaters will start firing up projectors in the next few weeks. And the two largest U.S. theater chains, AMC and Regal, both plan to reopen nearly all of their theaters next month.
But with social distancing guidelines still in place almost everywhere, it’s unclear if studios will be reluctant to release new films to only partially filled theaters.
The larger question might be whether moviegoers feel safe. But many industry insiders believe there will be pent up demand and people will be anxious to get out of the house and back to the movies.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the effort to reform police departments, from the bottom up.
Plus, Cal Thomas proposes a new contract with America.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Thursday the 11th of June, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up today, policing reforms.
Congress is considering enacting reform from the top down. But the nation’s more than 18,000 local police departments have been grappling with these issues for years. Some more successfully than others.
BASHAM: The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has highlighted the ongoing need for change. But where to begin? WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg spoke with policing experts to find out.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: In the 1980s and 90s, national and local politicians took tough-on-crime stances as murder and crime rates climbed. Politically appointed police commissioners especially started cracking down on gang violence in poor neighborhoods.
In 1990, Tom Nolan worked for the Boston Police Department. He was assigned to one of the new units.
NOLAN: They call it the Youth Violence Strike Force now, and it was essentially the gang unit. And so I was one of the first supervisors who was assigned to the gang unit.
The year before, Boston logged a record 152 homicides. Many cities including Boston adopted stop-and-frisk policies where police searched people for weapons and drugs—even without reasonable suspicion. The idea was that police could stop crime before it happened.
NOLAN: How it was enacted at the time consisted of stopping young African American men on the street in large numbers and searching them with the hope that you might find some kind of contraband or a weapon or something. So on the street, civil rights and civil liberties and constitutional protections were largely ignored.
Nolan says historic and ongoing police injustices against black Americans have consistently eroded their trust in the police.
A 2016 Pew poll found just a third of black Americans think police treat all racial and ethnic minorities fairly. And last year, another Pew poll found nine in 10 black adults said the criminal justice system favors whites.
Today, Nolan is a professor of sociology at Emmanuel College in Boston. He researches how police can more fairly enforce laws.
NOLAN: I think that there is an awareness that there has been historically and continues to be a heavy handed presence of the police in communities of color and widespread instances of over-policing in certain communities.
But some criminal justice experts argue today’s protests against police violence and bias ignore the progress law enforcement agencies have made.
Rafael Mangual is the director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute. He notes that nearly 50 years ago, New York City police shot their guns more than 800 times, killing nearly 100 people. In 2016, NYPD officers fired their weapons 72 times, killing 9. Other cities have experienced similar drops. And in 2018, less than half a percent of all police officers fired a weapon.
MANGUAL: That doesn’t illustrate to me evidence of a police force out of control. That doesn’t illustrate to me the existence of a police violence problem that is on par with a pandemic, which is exactly how it’s been characterized by police critics across the country in recent weeks.
Mangual also points to a 2018 study analyzing more than 100-thousand criminal arrests across three departments. Researchers found police made 99 percent of arrests without any physical force.
MANGUAL: I also acknowledge that we should and can fairly expect more out of our police officers—but by and large—I think that the institution of policing is being unfairly maligned and tarred with a broad brush.
Violent encounters with police may be down, but other criminologists point out that when violence is applied, it’s used more often against black Americans.
According to a Washington Post database, police are twice as likely to shoot and kill a black person than a white person.
A 2016 study also found that black men and women are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, or pepper-sprayed by police.
To address this disparity, more departments are enrolling officers in implicit bias training. Laurie Fridell is a criminologist at the University of South Florida. She created an implicit bias training program called Fair and Impartial Policing.
FRIDELL: With implicit bias, we still lead groups to various stereotypes, but it’s not based on animus and hostility. It can still impact on perceptions and behavior, but it can happen outside of conscious awareness.
Fridell says bias isn’t bad until it prevents police from administering the law fairly. Fridell’s training teaches police officers to take their focus off people’s physical characteristics and consider all relevant factors.
FRIDELL: You can take that into consideration along with the particular behavior of a person, the location of the person, the time of day… and collectively that might produce for instance, enough proof to make a detention or even an arrest.
Although she believes the program works, Fridell admits there have been no studies on whether implicit bias training actually changes police behavior.
Policing experts also suggest law enforcement should use body cameras at all times, avoid situations that lead to violence like foot chases, create departments that reflect local demographics and use hot-spot policing. That’s where police heavily patrol a few, crime-ridden blocks instead of a whole neighborhood.
Rachel Greszler is a labor scholar with the Heritage Foundation. She says local governments also need to reform police unions. They’re supposed to protect police salaries, but they often end up shielding bad officers.
GRESZLER: You can have any number of new policies and prohibitions and police reforms that are put in place. But if that police department cannot or will not discipline or terminate officers who violate those new policies that you put in place, you won’t have compliance…
All the criminologists I spoke to agreed on one thing: While police departments are making improvements, they lack relationships with their communities, especially communities of color.
Wesley Skogan is a policy researcher at Northwestern University. He says police should partner with local nonprofits and community organizations working in neighborhoods. They should even just go door-to-door and talk to people. When people don’t know their police officers, it’s harder to trust them.
SKOGAN: When the cops are out there in the neighborhood watching and cheering people on, stopping by for 15 minutes. That’s got a lot of benefits.
With trust comes the ability to have difficult conversations, especially when an officer in another community—or in your own community—does something wrong. And conversations lead to understanding, and hopefully change.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: protecting international religious liberty.
NICK EICHER: Last week, President Trump signed an executive order redirecting federal funds and diplomatic priorities overseas. The order prioritizes foreign aid and protections for minority religious groups.
BASHAM: It directs the State Department and other federal agencies to reexamine U.S. foreign policy. It puts at least 50 million dollars toward prevention of and response to religious-liberty threats. It also calls on the government to sanction those who violate religious freedom.
Joining us now to analyze the effect of this order is Nina Shea. She heads the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. Good morning!
NINA SHEA, GUEST: Good morning, Megan.
BASHAM: What’s your take on the order? Are you pleased with these new requirements?
SHEA: Yes. I think it really is a very important step. I’m hopeful it’s the culminating step of a very long history—really over 70 years—of making international religious freedom part of U.S. foreign policy because it would have, it should have started when the U.S. backed the universal declaration for human rights in 1948. Rights of religious believers were giving shoddy treatment compared to the rights of, say, defense lawyers or trade unionists or other categories, journalists, victims of human rights around the world.
BASHAM: How big a change is this in U.S. policy?
SHEA: Well, that’s what I’m saying. It should be big. We don’t know how it’s going to be implemented, but hopefully this is the implementing step. Because there was an infrastructure after the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to raise religious freedom violations around the world. And still that hasn’t been enough because we have seen over and over again when religious freedom and religious violations, persecuted populations on a massive scale have been overlooked in our foreign policy. And I think we’re seeing that today in Nigeria.
BASHAM: Well, you mentioned Nigeria. Are you thinking that’s one of the areas where this is going to have the biggest impact? Or where do you see this having the biggest impact?
SHEA: I think it could have a very big impact in Nigeria if this is finally—this is a directive to all of the government agencies. It covers not just the Middle East and it is not limited to religious minorities. And so that helps Nigeria, for example. I’d say China might be another one. But in Nigeria it’s very stark. The reporting is extremely weak on the State Department. Very biased, in fact. So, I think that one of the things that could happen under the executive order is that victims, like the Christians in the middle belt and the northern belt of Nigeria, could be empowered to document what is happening to themselves. The U.S. could give them assistance and training to document the human rights violations in a systematic and comprehensive way so that we have the information. And policy does flow from information and facts.
BASHAM: Do you expect if that change were to happen they would get more balanced media coverage? Or, really, any media coverage at all at this point?
SHEA: Yeah, with analysis of what the context is for these attacks that we’re hearing about in a place like Nigeria, for example, that there would be more details, more of a pattern that you could analyze and say that this is not just a one-off case or this is not just a Hatfield McCoy feud between one group and another group, but this really has a context where jihadists are coming in and yelling, “Allahu Akbar” as they’re beheading Christians, as they’re killing children, dismembering pregnant women, burning churches, that you have a better sense, if you have that kind of texture and detail in the reporting—and it’s often missing in these cases, not always, but sometimes—that you could then identify an intent and a motive.
BASHAM: Well, and I ask that question because just a couple days ago I was looking into various video news services—CNN, Reuters, AFP—and I could only find reference to that particular situation under “ethnic killing.” I couldn’t find anything under “religious killing” or “persecution.”
SHEA: Yeah. So they’re downplaying the religious aspects of this and they being the State Department and the media, which has a symbiotic relationship. And it’s sometimes very difficult for secular media to see Christians as a victim. They identify Christians as a privileged group, a white group. Of course, in Nigeria it’s not that. And, of course, there are Muslims who are victimized by these Fulani militants and by Boko Haram in Nigeria and elsewhere. Actually, throughout sub-saharan Africa right now. It’s a very epidemic proportioned attack.
BASHAM: How about China? We know that they’re one of the most flagrant violators of religious freedom. Do you see this as having any effect on Beijing?
SHEA: Well, we do have some policies in place on what is happening with the Uighers and I think that we need to go further. I mean, the Uigher Muslim population of China has been sent by in the million or more numbers to concentration camps for reeducation whereby they are to give up their religious beliefs and practices. It’s startling that this is being carried out by a government. It’s a very dire situation for all religions now. And the Christians, again, they have recently sentenced, again, during the pandemic, one of the leading underground pastors to nine years in prison. Extremely long prison term at this point in time for China. And we need to counter that. We need to have programs that will recognize this and overcome it somehow, given the tools that they need to overcome this reindoctrination attempt by China. And I think the EO could—if there’s political will to implement it—because it elevates religious freedom to a policy priority.
BASHAM: Nina Shea directs the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. Again, Nina, thanks so much.
SHEA: Thank you, Megan.
NICK EICHER: OK, so when you think art gallery, you probably think velvet ropes and floors waxed to a mirror shine.
You do not imagine the kind of art gallery that just opened in Cologne, Germany.
The owners of a local art gallery have been just like the rest of us, figuring out how to do what we do while locked down.
What they did was rethink and relocate.
So ditch the idea of portraits in ornate halls.
Instead, they displayed art on luggage carts, each piece carefully parked and arranged into aisles.
And visitors don’t walk through—they drive through.
It’s an unexpected experience for travelers. After all, a collection of fine art is the last thing you’d expect to see in an airport parking garage!
But some 300 works are now on display in between the concrete columns at Cologne Bonn Airport.
So maybe that next flight delay can be a cultural experience.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, June 11th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Christianity and criminal defense.
EICHER: As you heard several minutes ago, events surrounding George Floyd’s death have shed light on problems with policing. WORLD reporter Jenny Rough talked with a lawyer who knows first hand about that. He used to be a criminal prosecutor. Then he had a change of heart.
JENNY ROUGH, REPORTER: Attorney Tom Kidd arrives at the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Ohio, and heads inside. In the sparse lobby area, a few scattered visitors sit and wait in plastic chairs. A framed poster on the concrete wall displays the county’s Most Wanted list. At the window of the jail control room, Kidd presents his credentials.
KIDD: Do we have a room?
KIDD: Excellent. I only have one to see.
CLERK: Who are we seeing?
He’s here to meet an inmate caught in a drug bust. And to start a difficult conversation about life behind bars.
Kidd’s career plan wasn’t to defend the accused. He graduated law school a little over 20 years ago. And was influenced by the tough-on-crime, law-and-order approach to the legal system. So he took a job in his home county prosecutor’s office and got to work. Proving guilt. Arguing cases at trial. Pushing for heavy sentences.
Over the years, Kidd noticed a serious problem.
KIDD: I noticed that there were a lot of turn signal violations.
The traffic stops only happened in certain communities.
KIDD: A turn signal violation would be the one that kind of shocked me. You have probable cause, you broke the law, and the government—it’s a rightful stop, and there’s nothing illegal about it, but it was done with a purpose.
The purpose? According to Kidd, law enforcement was looking for opportunities.
KIDD: …to pull over vehicles in the hopes of being able to smell marijuana, for example. If you smelled marijuana, you then have a right to search the entire vehicle and in the hopes of finding drugs, firearms, whatever.
Kidd says this type of active policing shouldn’t happen.
KIDD: As a Christian, that views all men and women are prone to sin, that’s that a problematic view, to be able to hold a certain segment of society opposed to another segment of society, and that the one can do no wrong…
Kidd sees another area in need of reform: over-criminalization of behavior. People who commit violent crimes should be separated from society, but non-violent offenders? Like a dad who failed to pay child support? The last thing he needs is to be locked up. Another example: Drug use. Possession. And sale. Kidd says, incarceration often doesn’t make sense.
KIDD: And we were punishing, and we still are punishing, people for years, not for direct violence. And some would say, well, drug trade is always intertwined with violence, and there is some truth to that. The question is, what causes that?
Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson and theologian Francis Schaeffer were proponents of restorative justice, restitution, and second chances. Their ideas appeal to Kidd.
KIDD: Why aren’t we looking toward restitution? Victim-offender mediation, instead of incarceration?
So after eight years as a prosecuting attorney, Kidd made a big decision.
KIDD: I did switch sides. I did switch sides indeed.
Now as a criminal defense attorney, he makes sure the police aren’t violating the law.
KIDD: What I’m looking for are potential violations in regard to the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, and in regard to search and seizure, things like that where again the government, some people would say, messed up on a technicality. I would say the Fourth and Fifth amendment is anything but a technicality. You’re talking about being secure in your homes, in your person, that those rights are instrumental and that if we don’t defend those rights for the downtrodden, the drug dealer, then what right do we think that they should apply to us?
He’s defended people accused of murder—it wasn’t easy. But the government has the burden of proving guilt. Kidd says we should be thankful it’s not the reverse.
The idea of good evidence for a proper conviction comes straight from God’s law.
KIDD: Seems like God liked multiple witnesses. You can talk all about DNA evidence and all that, yeah. But we should think long and hard before we take someone’s liberty just based on a he said, she said, or minimal evidence.
Back at his law firm—an old house converted to office space—Kidd meets yet another client.
KIDD: Hey, Michael. Good to see you.
MICHAEL: How are you?
KIDD: Good. C’mon in. Let’s step back into the conference room.
Much of Kidd’s day is spent working with hurting people. Mental health issues come into play. And so many people are rootless, Kidd says. Without a real connection to community. It contributes to a crisis of meaninglessness.
KIDD: We have raised a generation of people that have no support systems. We’ve raised a generation that simply doesn’t know what they need to do to move forward, and prison doesn’t help that. The idea of rehabilitation is a noble aspiration. Prison is probably the wrong instrument to do that.
Bookshelves line Kidd’s office. He has a well-used two-volume set of the United States Sentencing Guidelines alongside books about Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper was prime minister of the Netherlands in the early 1900s. He was also a theologian. His Christian view of life was rooted in sphere sovereignty.
KIDD: God created different areas that govern certain parts of creation. You have the sphere of the family, you have the sphere of the church, and you have the sphere of the civil government.
The civil government sphere is still too powerful today, Kidd says. The other two, not enough. But he believes that’s the best place for rehabilitation.
KIDD: It would look like being connected with, I think, a church, having a reason to live, establishing a family, having a purpose, having gainful employment where you know you’re contributing.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Rough in West Chester Township, Ohio.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, June 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Next up, Cal Thomas on how Republicans can help black communities—and maybe win some votes in the process.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: In 1994, Republican Congressmen Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey created a Contract with America. It was a list of proposed legislation they promised to pass if voters gave their party a House majority. Though many of the proposals either did not pass or were watered down in negotiations with President Clinton, a few survived and became law.
That contract was a good idea because it helped to change the political dynamic in favor of Republican issues. I think we now need a “Contract with Black America.”
I asked Gingrich what such a contract might include. To start, he said, reinforce universal values like health, strong families, faith, home and property ownership.
He also said—quote—”Develop a new public-private partnership with neighborhood churches to strengthen their role in the community, including child care, better schools, and K-12 Pell Grants that parents could spend at church schools, private schools, charter schools, or traditional public schools.” End quote.
Recruiting neighborhood residents for the police is another good suggestion, given the broken relationship between law enforcement and African Americans.
Turning opportunity zones into “reality zones” is also a positive suggestion. Gingrich says “opportunity zones have had relatively limited impacts because they use capital gains tax money, which doesn’t help small businesses and only have an indirect impact.”
He says the real challenge is not only economic, but cultural and structural: “To succeed there has to be safety from crime, and work has to pay more than either dependency or crime.”
He proposes distance learning, support groups, and free online education that includes the basics of reading, writing and math, so that mentors can fill the gap government schools leave graduates.
There’s more, but these are his fundamentals.
We also need to better know each other. How often have you invited someone of a different race or ethnicity into your homes for a meal? Those Wednesday night suppers many churches offer would be an ideal beginning for interaction.
We don’t listen enough to each other’s stories. Instead, too many throw rhetorical bombs, reinforcing prejudices and stereotypes. The media are conspirators in this because they rarely show pictures or do interviews with peaceful protesters, or those African Americans who aren’t protesting.
Doing good should be sufficient motive, but Republicans should also see the value of concrete, workable promises as a political strategy.
In a 2016 speech to a mostly African American audience then-candidate Donald Trump said—quote—”The time is now. There is nothing we cannot accomplish. There is no task or project too great. There is no dream outside of our reach.” End quote.
That’s true now more than ever. Let’s get a “Contract with Black America” written and passed.
I’m Cal Thomas.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet returns to answer another round of questions from this year’s class of World Journalism Institute students.
And, we’ll review a new TV show about a teenage girl who becomes a superhero.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
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Isaiah tells us that as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!