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Know Your Rights

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/SPECTATOR

Written by Kristin Whitman, Sports Editor

“We can’t change the past but looking forward all we can do is try, and this meeting is a step in the right direction,” Scott Doner, director of University Police said, at the “Know Your Rights” event last Tuesday, Feb. 17.

The event was held in the University Center Magnolia Room where a panel of experienced attorneys and law enforcement officers answered questions.  The panel gave advice to students, faculty and staff on knowing what to do about the previous conflict of police brutality and community safety.

Questions arose at the meeting such as: What are police and citizens doing wrong and what observations have the panel made about the relationship between the younger generation and people in authority?

Attorney Francys Johnson, owner of The Johnson Firm, took on these questions full force, “Talking to police should be the same as interacting with your pastor, your professor or anyone in a positions of authority,” Johnson said. “Racism is still alive but we have got to start respecting each other simply as being human beings.”

Chief of Police for Valdosta, Brian Childress followed up this answer, “There are bad apples in both parties,” Childress said. “This is not a racial issue this is a respect issue on both sides.”

This event was presented by The Mu Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity as an opportunity for students, employees and the community to learn more about their rights as they relate to police issues.

As the discussion went on, the floor was open to the audience to get more insight from the knowledgeable panel. The influence of social media was another topic of discussion.

“We need young people like you to do the work when it comes to knowing your rights, Attorney Mawuli Davis said. “Your power through social media is endless, let’s work together to make the next move to solve this problem.

Audience members continued to ask questions on how to work with the police instead of against.

“This is an educational process there is always going to be changes,” Doner said. “We’ve got to work at this and  have respect for each other no matter what side we are own.”

More educational, social and service events will take place on campus in February to support Black History Month such as: The Third Annual African-American Artists Festival held tomorrow Feb. 27, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday the 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the UC Magnolia Room.

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