Social Justice Round Table, March 19

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Outreach

Thursday, March 19th, I’ll contribute to a panel discussion designed to identify solutions for promoting positive relationships between law enforcement, the courts, and the community. The Honorable Judge Faye Allen will moderate, and I’ll join a distinguished panel that includes State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton, Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, and defense attorneys Louis Calderon and Alissa Adamson.

I believe that the American justice system is the best justice system in the world, but it is not perfect. Minorities, especially African Americans, are grossly over-represented in our jails and prisons -- a clear sign that an implicit racial bias infects our system. It breeds resentment and distrust. In the wake of Ferguson, we’re witnessing a crisis of confidence in our justice system.

Instituting police body cameras is a start. Rebuilding the Ferguson Police Department will send a strong message to law enforcement agencies everywhere that they should reevaluate how they train officers in regards to use of force policies and racial sensitivity. We need to ask politicians to provide the funding needed to implement community policing programs. We need to change our mandatory minimum sentencing laws to give more discretion to judges who are most qualified assess the the specific facts on any particular case; it is not, afterall, a one-size-fits-all justice system.

I hope you’ll join me for what promises to be a rousing and important discussion between people who have the power to affect positive change in how the criminal justice system works in Central Florida. Press welcome.

Thursday, March 19 at 5:30PM

New Covenant Baptist Church
2210 South Rio Grande Ave.
Orlando, FL 32805