365 Brothers Podcast Refutes Pence’s Dismissal of Racially Biased Policing

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Black men interviewed from across the United States and from diverse occupations and socio-economic status detail incidents of racial profiling and harassment by law enforcement. The incidents are described in the 365 Brothers podcast, a show dedicated to the stories, wisdom and experiences of Black men.

The prevalence of racial bias in policing may be difficult to measure, but one podcast provides its audience an opportunity to discover just how widespread the practice of stopping Black men without cause is in the United States. Through interviews with Black men from across the nation and from diverse professions and life experiences, the 365 Brothers podcast paints a broad picture of racial profiling by police.

Las Vegas resident Therman Davis, a retired actuary, described being stopped while crossing in the middle of a street mid- morning with zero traffic in either direction. "An unmarked police car with an unmarked plain clothes policeman in the car...roared up to me like I'd just robbed a bank. He stops and he didn't get of the car. He says 'What the hell are you doing running around the middle of the streets boy?'" The officer harangued him for thirty-five minutes before driving off. No ticket was issued and the officer never exited his car.

From all parts of the nation, the stories of being stopped while Black chronicled on 365 Brothers creates a stark contrast to Vice President Mike Pence’s remark that “This presumption that…law enforcement has an implicit bias against minorities is a great insult to the men and women who serve in law enforcement.” While Mr. Pence denounced the killing of George Floyd in Wednesday’s Vice Presidential Debate, he expressed disbelief in the existence of widespread bias in policing or that it constitutes a type of structural racism.

“In episode after episode, the tales of implicit bias in policing are vividly told,” says host and executive producer, Rahbin Shyne. The listener gets related to each guest before hearing a recount of relevant interactions with law enforcement. “One quarter of the men interviewed report an incident in which a gun was drawn on them by one or more officers during a stop for a minor or non-existent infraction."

The podcast is about their lives, wisdom, loves and experiences, not just their interactions with law enforcement. The interviews are constructed around eleven questions which create an intimate, reflective ark. A favorite question is “If the United States was a woman, what would you say to her?” The message of the podcast is to showcase both the diversity of Black men's lives as well as the unfortunate commonality of having at least one racially-biased incident of intimidation by police.

Four officers approached comedian Papp Johnson as he walked from his car to his home after attending a late night comedy show. They approached him with guns drawn, asking what he was doing walking down the street at 3am. After pointing out that he was walking from where he parked to his home and enduring several minutes of questioning, he was allowed to continue home. Veterinarian Landon Collins summed up the impact of unwarranted police stops this way, "Even if you're not doing the wrong thing, or even if you're doing all the right things, there's still a chance of social injustice and you could be killed...That's the real scary part." When interviewed, Dr. Collins recalled an incident in which he was stopped while walking back from a convenience store during a late night study break while a veterinary school student. They were responding to a report of something stolen from the campus library. Dr. Collins is and was bald. They were looking for a man with dreadlocks. He was interrogated for fifteen minutes though he did not fit the description of the suspect.

To hear more of stories of Black men’s lives, including interactions with law enforcement subscribe to the 365 Brothers podcast. The podcast can be found in all the usual directories including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and at http://www.365brothers.com.

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Rahbin Shyne
365 Brothers
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