HARTFORD, Conn — FOX61 spoke with Lorenzo M. Boyd, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Director of the Center for Advanced Policing at the University of New Haven.
We asked him his reaction to the protests over George Floyd’s death across the nation and in Connecticut.
“I want people to understand that this is not one snapshot in time. I want people to understand the historical context of what is going on. It’s not just the George Floyd situation. It’s not just the Ahmaud Arbery situation, or it’s not just Michael Brown, or not just Trayvon Martin. There’s a history of things that continue to happen over and over and over again that many people, particularly in black and brown communities are facing vicarious trauma,” said Dr. Boyd. “The people who are protesting want their voices to be heard, because this isn’t a new incident. People in communities have been complaining for generations about the relationship between police and communities of color. Sometimes there’s a little bit of reform, but then we go back to a status quo situation. People are hurting and we need to acknowledge their pain.”
He spoke about the change needed to policing across the nation.
“You absolutely need a systemic change. The career path that is policing is inherently flawed, and to say that it’s only a few bad apples, we’ve been saying that for generations. I myself say to community members a lot, most police officers are law abiding, God-fearing citizens that are really trying to do the right thing. But the question is, ‘Where are all these good police officers when these bad officers are doing bad stuff?’ And if they’re standing by watching. Silence often looks like they are being complicit,” said Dr. Boyd.
Dr. Boyd commended the CT State Police troopers who responded to the protests on I-84 in Hartford Monday.
“If I knew those State Troopers, I would personally call them and give them kudos, because people definitely have the right to peacefully protest, and the police were acknowledging the pain in these communities,” said Dr. Boyd.
He added Connecticut has a number of progressive police chiefs who are working with their communities to acknowledge their right to protest.
“There’s a lot of police chiefs that are doing great things. I was on a call the other day with Vern Riddick from West Hartford and his people are doing really great things. Tony Reyes from New Haven PD, he had his police officers on the steps of the police department denouncing police brutality. Ronnell Higgins at Yale, he’s got 95 police officers. He’s telling them our job is not to police social distancing, our job is to serve the community. So we do have a lot of progressive chiefs who are trying to do the right thing,” said Dr. Boyd.