James McKeever, assistant professor of philosophy and sociology at Pierce College, organized a discussion that included L.A. County Sheriff Captain Cheryl Newman Tarwater.
The discussion included students and staff at the ASO in the Library / Learning Center on Dec. 11. It was in response to the death of Eric Garner, who died after an altercation with police in Staten Island, New York.
“I did this because it was needed and I wanted to give a place for everyone to express themselves,” McKeever said. “Tarwater coming out to talk was great because it gave a human element to the discussion, to see their side of this situation.”
Tarwater spoke about the recent situations across the country where law enforcement have killed civilians. She also spoke about racial profiling, which she said does happen.
“There are good officers and there are bad ones,” Tarwater said. “There are officers that do racial profile and there are those that don’t.”
Students had the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers, and a lot of the questions were directed to Tarwater. They asked what people can do to avoid situations with officers, and also the officers can do to prevent them as well.
Another guest speaker was Pierce student Caleb Word. He shared how he felt, and how he has been affected by racial profiling. He said he has been stopped by police officers for no reason, and questioned just because of the color of his skin. Even though Word said he was racially profiled by police, he still keeps a positive attitude and wants everyone to do so, too.
“If everyone can take one thing from this discussion today, it’s that everyone has to love each other,” Word said. “That’s how we will make a difference in this world.”