Lynne Hayes Freeland spoke with a panel of experts about the Derek Chauvin trial as it draws to a close and other recent developments with officer-involved deaths.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: We are back here on the Lynn Hayes-Freeland Show. We need an hour. But we don't have it. So I'm just going to jump right in. So of course, you know, a lot of these issues came up for us here in Pittsburgh with Jonny Gammage, 25, 26, I guess, years ago. And never any satisfaction. Lots of protests in the street. Lots of marches.
But here we are again. Dr. Ellis, let me start with you. Because, I mean, how do we make it better?
KIMBERLY C. ELLIS: I'm not exactly sure. But I have some ideas. And one is we need to end qualified immunity, for sure. I think that we need to make these police officers pay themselves instead of pushing the burden over off on taxpayers to pay for their crimes. I think it would lessen the score.
And I think that we need to pay attention more. You know, it upset me that-- I mean, I was glad that the nation witnessed the death of George Floyd because of where we are now. But to be honest, had we payed closer attention, we would have been in the streets and up in arms over Eric Garner's death. Because he died the exact same way, literally being choked out, and being placed on the ground, and not being able to breathe, and then not being given CPR when they could have given CPR and they could have saved him, not when the ambulance arrives and they're there, you know?
And so it just upsets me in that way. And, you know, we don't have another global pandemic to do for us to pay attention to what is wrong with our society. So we need to do better. And let's continue to fight for justice.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: So, Paul, you mentioned Romir Talley. That's an ongoing case. Of course, he's the young man who was shot by Wilkinsburg Police-- are we coming up-- is it two years now, Paul?
PAUL JUBAS: Yeah, it'll be two years in December. The investigation by Allegheny County is still open. There's no reason for that, except for the fact that, as long as it's open, that means that I can't get access to it, the family can't get access to it, and we can't test anything to prove that it wasn't-- that he didn't shoot a gun.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: So there were lots of marches on his behalf, lots of marches in the streets of Wilkinsburg on his behalf. We talked to-- you mentioned something before we actually started recording today, that we could-- all of these videos and all of this protest could have a negative effect, almost, a negative effect, almost, in that we lose some of our momentum.
PAUL JUBAS: Yeah, I think that a lot of people are-- like you guys have been saying, a lot of people are emotionally drained. And there are a lot of people that are turning off because of that. You know, people that you would have said are allies are a lot more quiet now. Because it is draining for everybody. It's a lot more draining for the families and the actual Black community than it is for, you know, for white people. But it's still very difficult to watch all of this stuff.
So that's the concern. The concern is that there will be some people unplugging. And there will be less momentum because of that.
BLAINE JONES: Lynn, may I chime in? Yeah, I think that marches and protests are playing checkers. And I think if we want to effectuate some type of serious, tangible change, we need to play chess. And what I mean by that is we need to be students of history. In the civil rights movement, we marched. And we protested, and so on and so forth, blah, blah, blah. But when did people start to take notice? When we had the Selma bus boycotts, when we decided not to financially patronize certain places.
So if we can get ourselves together in terms of a strong financial base and in political power, that's the key moving into the 21st century. Marches and protests, what that leads to is people getting arrested, needing lawyers like me to come and try to help them out, as opposed to really bringing about some type of change.
Do you think if we had the financial power and the political clout these things would happen to Black men over and over again? Absolutely not. We need to reimagine and rethink how we want to go about changing.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: How we want to make a difference. Kim, I see you nodding your head.
KIMBERLY C. ELLIS: Well, I agree. And I've always-- I mean, I am a protester. But I'm so much more. And I think that what has frustrated me is that there has been this sort of narrative that is you're just supposed to protest. There's no way. There's no way. You know, you have to be strategic. Sometimes, we make strides with lawsuits, which is why we greatly appreciate having lawyers on board. My own brother is a lawyer.
Sometimes it is through financial means, you know, through boycotts. Do we have the fortitude that our ancestors did to actually walk to work or catch rides to work for a little over a year? You know, we're spoiled. We're spoiled. And these days, people think, if you put out a tweet, you've done a lot. And you really haven't. I mean, we appreciate the tweets and the posts. But there's a lot of performative activism.
And I don't like it. I think that getting to the real deal is very important. And so you have to do the hard work. And you have to do the hard work behind the scenes too. You can't just be out here performing all the time. And I actually-- I'm a performer. But, I mean, really, you can't do that all the time. So I agree with Blaine in many different ways.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: And, Paul, we got about a minute and a half left. We didn't even get to scratch the surface of social media and how this affects what you guys do, what we do. Where do you think that fits into all this?
PAUL JUBAS: Hey, I mean, if you have a video, and it goes on social media of something like this, and it will fly. You know, we-- and like everybody said, there needs to be accountability. We need to make sure every cop is wearing a video camera on them around here. And right now, they're not. And that's not acceptable.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: And, Blaine, you know, we all think, though-- and I hate to say this, especially when we're running out of time-- it's like, but we all think, if there's video, that that changes everything. It does change the game. But it doesn't guarantee it.
BLAINE JONES: No, absolutely, it doesn't guarantee it. And I believe Kimberly mentioned it before with Rodney King. I think that's the first time besides the civil rights movement when you saw German shepherds attacking people-- that was the first time-- I think it was 1992. And I remember seeing that as a high school kid and thinking, oh, my God, what the heck is going on here? And, you know, your parents give you the talk as a Black man, don't drive in certain places, don't do certain things.
But there was never a video to go along with it. This was the video accompanying the talk. So, Lynne, like I said, the bottom line I hope everyone is listening loud and clear, go get your education. Become a Dr. Kimberly Ellis. Become an attorney Paul Jubas. That's key.
Because when you have these certain degrees, and you know how to move among sharks, then you can be a bigger shark yourself.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: Move among sharks. We're going to leave it right there. I wish we had an hour, but we don't. But I think all three of you. Like I said, it wasn't because of your expertise, although that played a role in it. I just wanted to have a conversation from the heart. I think you did that. And I thank all three of you so much, all three of my friends, for being here today. I appreciate you guys, for sure.
BLAINE JONES: Thank you for having me.
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND: We'll be back. And I'll wrap this up. You know, elections are coming up. I got to talk about that too. We'll be back in just a minute. Don't go away.