Exchange between Morris Dees and Jon Roland, 1999 Nov. 9

Morris Dees spoke to a crowd of several hundred persons in the Sacramento Ballroom of California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) beginning at 19:30, Nov. 9, 1999. After his talk, he took questions, and one of them was from Jon Roland.

ROLAND: There is one area of hatred and divisiveness which you haven't really addressed today, and which I think deserves more attention, and that is the growing polarization between law enforcement organizations and their personnel, and the American people. We are seeing an increasing militarization of law enforcement, increasing use of dynamic entries for serving search and arrest warrants, too many mistakes that are not corrected.... In other words, it's not enough to address hate crimes from random individuals or small groups. The more dangerous forms it can take are when they are perpetrated under color of law.

DEES: You have a question? I'll be glad to respond to your comment.

ROLAND: Well, I'd like to suggest that you devote more attention to these kind of hate crimes, [and] the kind of hatred that infests our government and our law enforcement organizations. [applause]

DEES: You make a good point. You make a good point. We have devoted quite a bit of attention.... I've filed personally lawsuits against law enforcement officers who are just over the line and who have admitted to what I would consider a hate crime. I think the beating of Rodney King to be a hate crime. I think the arresting of a person based on the fact that the color of their skin is some[?] profile would be tantamount to a hate crime. But one thing that it is important to note [is] that the great bulk of law enforcement officers that I've been[?] in contact with around America are not involved[?] in prejudice, in hate crimes. In fact, in the Deep South we have a kind of a prejudice against southerners. The church burnings that took place in the South, and around the country.... But if you look at those church burnings where they caught the perpetrators, it wasn't the FBI or any national law enforcement officers that broke[?] the case. I've had ... in South Carolina, it was the Sheriff of Clarendon County, South Carolina, that had the two young white klansmen in jail within 48 hours after the church burning. There's no question that, that there are law enforcement officers in this nation who are guilty of biases and prejudices and what I would consider hate crimes. If I'm under[?] ... that we don't pay attention to those.... We put on seminars all over the nation. I spoke to the California Chief of Police [?!1] ... We're invited by the U.S. attorneys, and prosecutors, and law enforcement officers all over the nation. We put on seminars on hate crimes, and on ... and we intend on our web site we're creating, called[?2], to have a special division[?], so that police agencies can find the best practices of other police agencies that have confronted the great issues that you're dealing with. You raised a good point. Thank you.


[1] Needless to say, there is no "California Chief of Police". Presumably he was thinking of the Chief of Police of some city in California.

[2] He said "", but this domain name belonged to someone else at the time. It was eventually, more than a year later, acquired and a site put up, by the Southern Poverty Law Center web site .

Transcription by Jon Roland, who is responsible for any errors. Doubtful words are followed by [?] above.

Comment: This carefully worded and timed question effectively won the support of the audience against abuses by law enforcement and diverted it from the intended targets of the speaker, exaggerated in scope and importance to help him raise money from gullible donors. The rest of his presentation was derailed by it.

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