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FBI and BCRI to Present Beyond the Bridge: Police and Community Engagement A Conference on Law Enforcement and Civil Rights May 17-18, 2015




Beyond the Bridge: Police and Community Engagement

A Conference on Law Enforcement and Civil Rights

May 17-18, 2015


For Immediate Release                                                     


May 11, 2015 Birmingham, Alabama – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Birmingham Division, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), will sponsor its annual conference on civil rights and law enforcement, “Beyond the Bridge: Police and Community Engagement” on Sunday and Monday, May 17-18, 2015, at the BCRI at 520 Sixteenth Street North, Birmingham AL 35203. The sessions are free and open to the public.  Registration is required at www.bcri.org.

The conference begins on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm with a tour and reception at BCRI.  The opening program begins at 6:00 pm with a panel discussion on “Reflections on the Legacy of Bonita Carter and Community Policing Today.” The program will touch upon how the 1979 shooting of Bonita Carter instigated change in Birmingham’s Police Department.  The moderator for the program is Mrs. Sherri Jackson, Weekday Anchor for CBS 42 News at 5, 6 & 10 o’clockPanelists include Dr. Richard Arrington, Jr., Former Mayor of City of Birmingham; Mr. Roger Stanton, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), FBI; and Chief AC Roper, Birmingham Police Department.

“This conference promises to provide insight and answers to some of the national questions being discussed across the country about the relationship between law enforcement and the African American community,” said Priscilla Hancock Cooper, BCRI Interim President and CEO.  “For the past ten years, this conference has been instrumental in bringing together local law enforcement and community leaders to promote communication and greater understanding.”

“The FBI is proud to once again partner with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on this conference on law enforcement and civil rights. Now, more than ever, it is critical for law enforcement to engage the community and that’s at the heart of this conference,” said Roger C. Stanton, Special Agent in Charge of the Birmingham FBI office.

The conference continues on Monday, May 18 at BCRI from 8:00 am-3:00 pm with registration and continental breakfast from 8-8:30 am.  After opening remarks, morning sessions will focus on human trafficking, an area of growing concern for the FBI and local law enforcement.   

The discussion begins with a panel on “What is Human Trafficking?“ moderated by Ms. Tajuan McCarty, Founder, The WellHouse, Inc. with presenters Scott Santoro, Special Agent, Department of Homeland Security;  Brian Ozden, Special Agent, FBI, Atlanta Division; and MacArthur Butts, Intelligence Analyst (IA), FBI, Atlanta Division.  Captain Cathy Peoples, Commander, Community Services Division, Birmingham Police Department, will moderate a presentation on “Current Trends in Human Trafficking” by Benjamin Hawk, Trial Attorney, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, U.S. Department of Justice.

A “Lunch and Learn” session will feature presentations about how other federal  agencies deal with related issues, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
Department of Labor, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The afternoon program, “After Ferguson, Implications for Police and Community Engagement,” will be moderated by Delois Smith, Vice President for Diversity at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.  The featured presenter is Christy Lopez, Deputy Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, who will share insights from her oversight of the investigation of the practices of Ferguson, MO Police Department.   She will be joined by Stephen Kam, Unit Chief of the FBI’s Civil Rights Unit.  Richard Dickerson, President RAD Communications and Corey Ray of Hands Up Birmingham will share community perspectives. 

About the FBI

The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating all allegations regarding criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. These laws are designed to protect the civil rights of all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike within U.S. territory. The laws include:  hate crimes;  “color of law” violations (actions taken by a person acting under authority of local, state, or federal laws to willfully deprive someone of their rights secured under the Constitution); human trafficking (the illegal “business” of trafficking persons into forced labor and prostitution); and  freedom of access to clinic entrances.

About BCRI

The mission of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is to enlighten each generation about civil and human rights by exploring our common past and working together in the present to build a better future.  BCRI presents an in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement through time, from before the movement’s inception through today’s international struggle for universal human rights.  BCRI is more than just a museum; it is a place of research, a teaching facility and an acknowledged learning center for people of all ages and backgrounds.  Each year, BCRI reaches more than 170,000 individuals through tours and exhibitions as well as school and community outreach, public programs, special events, and archival collections.   Call 205-328-9696 or visit www.bcri.org for more information.


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