Panel votes to suspend Ms. Lawson-Muhammad

berkeley

@sprout and @DavidSchmidt

Did you read the complaint, linked on post #2? It was brought by Walter Fields.


sprout
bklyngirl said:. 
 Precisely.  Sprout:  this is about holding SLM accountable for her inappropriate actions that day.  That's all.  Whether/how/when we need to learn from this, train law enforcement, etc., is a separate issue that shouldn't interfere with attempting to hold SLM accountable.

I agree that they are separate issues -- I just think that holding SLM accountable is the smaller issue this video displays, while you seem to think it is of greatest importance.

In a "traffic stop" interaction, the officer is the professional, and I expect him or her to be the expert at managing them. 

When I watch that video, I'm more concerned that I see an officer who has not been given the tools or training to be an expert manager of traffic stops. He seems to have been given some training in managing his affect -- which is not the same thing. 



bklyngirl

Sprout:  you're correct - SLM's accountability is more important to me because she's the only one misbehaving in this instance.  By most accounts, the officer did everything right.  Thank goodness his camera was on.  


DaveSchmidt
berkeley said:
@sprout and @DavidSchmidt
Did you read the complaint, linked on post #2? It was brought by Walter Fields.

Yes. His name came up in the fourth post of this 573-comment thread from last spring:

https://maplewood.worldwebs.com/forums/discussion/accusation-against-soma-school-board-member?page=next&limit=


Jaytee

Police officers are not mental health professionals. They are there to enforce laws. What is so difficult to understand? That a speeding ticket, no insurance card citation could turn into a soap opera is remarkable. 

She broke the law by speeding, then gets an attitude because she is an official in the town? Entitlement at it's finest. Enough already. 


sprout
annielou said:
Believe me, sprout. Getting a ticket will almost always put one in a volatile mood regardless of how it’s handled. In this specific case, the driver is totally responsible for taking her mood into overdrive. 

I disagree. A traffic stop is (at least) a 2-person interaction, where each person contributes. The officer has more control of the situation and the outcome, so they need to be an expert in understanding and managing this control. 

In two cases where I was about to be ticketed (once for a missing registration card that was discovered after I made some other driving infraction, once for an expired registration) I was able to get the officer to be lenient and not ticket me. It was ridiculous how easily I was able to control the interaction and the outcome in these cases where I was clearly in the wrong.  

I previously felt that officers are poorly trained in leading/managing traffic stop interactions. This video simply confirmed that for me.  I guess I am surprised at the singular focus on the SLM drama, and that few seem to care about the opportunity to address this other aspect.


Smedley

I haven't watched the video since it first came out but as I recall the officer was pretty much spot-on as far as how he acted -- calm, professional, in control of the situation without being a d---, clear in his communication, etc. 

I don't know how the heck that video could lead to the conclusion that the cop was poorly trained in leading/managing traffic stop interactions, and by extension that SOPD needs remedial action. 


cramer

Many years ago, when we had our shore house, I had a police scanner. One day I heard a police officer, who had stopped someone for speeding, call into headquarters to say the speeder said that he knew (the officer gave the badge number of a police captain, whose badge  I happened to know.)  HQ told the officer "ok" and the speeder didn't get a ticket. I was really upset, because I knew that the street where the stop occurred was a site of a lot of speeding.  Let's not forget that SLM tried to do the same thing and I'm proud of the SO police officer - and South Orange. 

eta - SLM was stopped for speeding at a location across from a playground, and where there have been several incidents of pedestrians being hit. 


sprout
Jaytee said:
Police officers are not mental health professionals.

Are you arguing that law enforcement should not have substantial training in mental health and the psychology of interactions?  

I disagree. They have many interactions with the mentally ill. They are on the front lines of calls that end up in social services, such as domestic and child abuse cases. 

If one goal of law enforcement is to maintain order, I argue that it is a bit of an archaic approach to primarily focus on tools that subdue and punish people towards this end. An understanding and incorporation of psychological and teaching techniques are likely to have better and more long-term positive outcomes.


berkeley

@DavidSchmidt

Then I do not understand the premise of your post:

"The School Ethics Commission website lists eight members, with one vacancy. (It's dated 2017, but the only term that would have expired is Robert Bender's, and he remains the chairman.)

All are men. None of the seven whose photos I found online appear to be black."



mikescott

Sprout -- Clearly you did not watch the video before your made up your mind.   Officer remained calm and in control the whole time.  

Her words and her behavior were the only reason this incident escalated.  And it is very hard to figure out why someone who is smart, well known and active in the community could not figure out how to have at least one of her children in a car-pool so she does not have to speed.  

She clearly was trying to get out of the situation by using her position.  She took an oath and she violated it.    



sprout
Smedley said:
I haven't watched the video since it first came out but as I recall the officer was pretty much spot-on as far as how he acted -- calm, professional, in control of the situation without being a d---, clear in his communication, etc. 
I don't know how the heck that video could lead to the conclusion that the cop was poorly trained in leading/managing traffic stop interactions, and by extension that SOPD needs remedial action. 

Because you believe the way that traffic stop went was the best possible way it could have gone?  You don't see any possibilities for the officer to improve the outcome at all?


mikescott
sprout said:


Smedley said:
I haven't watched the video since it first came out but as I recall the officer was pretty much spot-on as far as how he acted -- calm, professional, in control of the situation without being a d---, clear in his communication, etc. 
I don't know how the heck that video could lead to the conclusion that the cop was poorly trained in leading/managing traffic stop interactions, and by extension that SOPD needs remedial action. 
Because you believe the way that traffic stop went was the best possible way it could have gone?  You don't see any possibilities for the officer to improve the outcome at all?

 Did you see SLM's behavior?  Do you think as a well educated professional who helps shape how our children are educated could have behaved better?  

I watched the video more than once and the officer acted professionally. 


yahooyahoo
sprout said:


bklyngirl said:. 
 Precisely.  Sprout:  this is about holding SLM accountable for her inappropriate actions that day.  That's all.  Whether/how/when we need to learn from this, train law enforcement, etc., is a separate issue that shouldn't interfere with attempting to hold SLM accountable.
I agree that they are separate issues -- I just think that holding SLM accountable is the smaller issue this video displays, while you seem to think it is of greatest importance.
In a "traffic stop" interaction, the officer is the professional, and I expect him or her to be the expert at managing them. 
When I watch that video, I'm more concerned that I see an officer who has not been given the tools or training to be an expert manager of traffic stops. He seems to have been given some training in managing his affect -- which is not the same thing. 


SLM is an elected leader of our school district, which contains approximately 7,000 students and a budget far north of $100 million.  She chose to run for a very critical position in our community.  Is it wrong to hold her accountable for her actions?  She is held to a high standard because of her choice to be a member of the BOE.  We should be able to expect a certain level of appropriate conduct.  


Smedley
sprout said:


Smedley said:
I haven't watched the video since it first came out but as I recall the officer was pretty much spot-on as far as how he acted -- calm, professional, in control of the situation without being a d---, clear in his communication, etc. 
I don't know how the heck that video could lead to the conclusion that the cop was poorly trained in leading/managing traffic stop interactions, and by extension that SOPD needs remedial action. 
Because you believe the way that traffic stop went was the best possible way it could have gone?  You don't see any possibilities for the officer to improve the outcome at all?

 As our world is an imperfect place, there's always room for improvement and this includes the officer's handling of the traffic stop. 

But if you grade the traffic stop, I'd probably give the officer a 95 and S L-M a 60. With those grades, who gets the attention? 


mayhewdrive

I disagree with Walter Fields on almost everything, but he couldn't be more right in his quote below:


The ethics complaint was filed by Walter Fields, a social justice activist with a group of black parents in the Maplewood and South Orange school district. Shortly after Lawson-Muhammad's arrest, Fields criticized the school board member for her behavior and called for her resignation.

In a statement this week, Fields said he filed the complaint "with no personal animosity" toward her.

"In an era in which relations between law enforcement and the Black community is tense and fragile, and in a town that has experienced an incident of abusive policing, it is important that we speak truthfully when law enforcement officers conduct themselves in a professional manner and treat Black civilians with respect," Fields said.

"Race and the issue of racial profiling is not relevant in this matter. Ms. Lawson- Muhammad’s behavior was driven by her attempt to use her public position and standing to influence a police officer in the discharge of his duties."

https://nj1015.com/nj-says-boe-member-who-called-cop-skinhead-should-be-suspended/


DaveSchmidt
cramer said:

Let's not forget that SLM tried to do the same thing and I'm proud of the SO police officer - and South Orange. 

I don’t think there’s any risk of forgetting what Lawson-Muhammad tried to do. Now that the School Ethics Commission has recommended that she lose one-sixth of her term, the question is whether that would be an appropriate punishment and — for me, at least — whether it was decided by a “jury” straight out of Jim Crow.

berkeley said:

@DavidSchmidt
Then I do not understand the premise of your post:

I hope that clarifies. No matter who brought the complaint, and whether or not I agree with the commission’s decision, would an all-white, all-male verdict — or even only nearly all — be acceptable? Especially when, to quote chalmers, “the main issue seems to be whether Ms. Lawson-Muhammad’s personal experience and the general mistreatment of African-Americans by police in this country justifies her behavior”?


BG9

Bit of a diva.

She starts with I'm so scared. Followed by I'm and esteemed community member. When that didn't work personality changes to threaten using Sheena as her name dropper. And then the insult of "your skin-head" chief.

Why didn't the gutless Bd or Ed censor her? Because she's a person of color and they're afraid of being labeled racist?


sprout
mikescott said:
Sprout -- Clearly you did not watch the video before your made up your mind.   Officer remained calm and in control the whole time.  

True, before watching the video I believed that police force process improvements are very important. And due to this, I watched the video through a process improvement lens.

In terms of importance, I think SLM is a minor character in our larger world. So, the outcome of this traffic stop drama will have local impacts, but little beyond that. 

So, my focus is on the larger issue of police force process improvement. I'm not sure why you are trying to convince me that focusing on SLM is more important.


Jackson_Fusion

She sped through a school zone & treated a cop who treated her with respect like garbage and tried to go over his head through her voter-granted position.


The cop definitely blew it here and is the one who needs training. He probably should have seen how upset she was, apologized for stopping her and sent her on her way. That would have de-escalated the situation and taught her the right lessons about speeding and pulling rank.




yahooyahoo
sprout said:


mikescott said:
Sprout -- Clearly you did not watch the video before your made up your mind.   Officer remained calm and in control the whole time.  
True, before watching the video I believed that police force process improvements are very important. And due to this, I watched the video through a process improvement lens.
In terms of importance, I think SLM is a minor character in our larger world. So, the outcome of this traffic stop drama will have local impacts, but little beyond that. 
So, my focus is on the larger issue of police force process improvement. I'm not sure why you are trying to convince me that focusing on SLM is more important.

This thread was started to discuss specifically the incident with SLM.  You can start another thread to discuss the larger issue of police force process improvement.


sprout
Jackson_Fusion said:
She sped through a school zone & treated a cop who treated her with respect like garbage and tried to go over his head through her voter-granted position.

The cop definitely blew it here and is the one who needs training. He probably should have seen how upset she was, apologized for stopping her and sent her on her way. That would have de-escalated the situation and taught her the right lessons about speeding and pulling rank.

Thank you for providing a perfect example of the general population's understanding of de-escalation, the low priority through which it is viewed, and why training on the topic is needed.


Smedley
Jackson_Fusion said:

The cop definitely blew it here and is the one who needs training. He probably should have seen how upset she was, apologized for stopping her and sent her on her way. That would have de-escalated the situation and taught her the right lessons about speeding and pulling rank.

 Yes. And even before all that, there is the broader institutional failure of not having doctorates in psychology mandatory for all cops.


DaveSchmidt

For the record, it wasn’t a school zone. 

ETA: It was near a playground.


Smedley

sorry accidental dup post 


cramer

Below is a link to the statement which Village President Collum issued in connection with the incident. Kudos to Ms. Collum. 

For sprout, I'll quote the following paragraph:

First, I applaud the professionalism of Patrol Officer Shaun Horst, a sentiment I conveyed to him in person shortly after I was made aware of the incident. His actions, as captured on the dashboard camera, are to be expected by each and every officer that proudly serves our community as a member of our South Orange Police Department. Under the leadership of Police Chief Kyle Kroll, ongoing and proactive professional development efforts have been underway, including an emphasis on de-escalation training which occurred last year.  

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/articles/south-orange-village-president-issues-statement-a



cramer
DaveSchmidt said:
For the record, it wasn’t a school zone. 
ETA: It was near a playground.

 This is where the stop occurred: 

"A 70-year-old South Orange resident suffered non-life threatening injuries after being hit by a car while crossing Walton Avenue on Tuesday, police said.

The woman was crossing Walton Ave. and Thornden Road at around 1 p.m. when she was hit by a car driven by a 63-year-old Maplewood resident, said Sgt. Adrian Acevedo. The woman was alert and conscious when she was transported to the hospital. Police issued the driver a summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian. The investigation remains going."

https://villagegreennj.com/police-and-fire/70-year-old-woman-struck-car-south-orange-police-say/

eta - SLM was upset that she had to go in person to court. I think a personal court appearance is required when a speeding ticket is given for driving 20 mph over the speed limit. 



sprout
cramer said:
Below is a link to the statement which Village President Collum issued in connection with the incident. Kudos to Ms. Collum. 
For sprout, I'll quote the following paragraph:
First, I applaud the professionalism of Patrol Officer Shaun Horst, a sentiment I conveyed to him in person shortly after I was made aware of the incident. His actions, as captured on the dashboard camera, are to be expected by each and every officer that proudly serves our community as a member of our South Orange Police Department. Under the leadership of Police Chief Kyle Kroll, ongoing and proactive professional development efforts have been underway, including an emphasis on de-escalation training which occurred last year.  
https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/articles/south-orange-village-president-issues-statement-a

Perfect. So for quality improvement processes they can use the video to evaluate whether:

  1. Officer Horst applied what he learned at the de-escalation training
  2. If so -- whether the de-escalation techniques performed as intended
    1.  E.g., Were they effective? Were the desired outcomes/goals achieved? Is there room for improvement?
  3. if not --whether the de-escalation training needs to be revisited. E.g.,: 
    1. content (e.g., did it provide techniques that were applicable to this or similar volatile situations?);
    2. schedule (is training from a year ago sufficient to maintain these skills, or is a more formative process or frequent schedule needed?);
    3. evaluation of mastery (is there an assessment, and does it sufficiently evaluate if officers have learned to apply the de-escalation techniques).

cramer

sprout - You're throwing it all back on the police officer. I disagree with you. 


DaveSchmidt
cramer said:

eta - SLM was upset that she had to go in person to court. I think a personal court appearance is required when a speeding ticket is given for driving 20 mph over the speed limit. 

She was ticketed with going 12 m.p.h. over the 25 limit.



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