Oklahoma City University hosts Forum on Citizen-Police Interactions

The Oklahoma City University School of Law and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. are organizing an interactive community forum to discuss citizens’ rights during interactions with police officers. The “Know Your Rights 101” forum is free to the public and will be from 10 a.m. – Noon, on Saturday, Jan. 24 in the McDaniel University Center, located in the center of OCU’s main campus at 2501 N. Blackwelder.

The forum will be facilitated by law enforcement personnel, attorneys and law professors, and Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty and Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey will give opening remarks.

Danne Johnson, an OCU School of Law professor who specializes in civil procedure and race issues, said the forum is purposely timed to address issues that have been dominating the national media, particularly the protests relating to the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York.

Prof. Johnson said that the forum’s purpose is not to take sides on the issues, but rather to educate the public about their rights. “Often, right after a tragedy, the dialogue isn’t as constructive as it should be,” she said. “These are complex topics that are difficult to discuss in a heated argument. By definition, we, as a society, have to agree to be policed. But we don’t spend enough time to build communication lines between the populace and the police force.”

Johnson is organizing the event; the facilitators will be Cesar Armenta, Thomas Jaha, Linda Samuel Jaha, Lorenzo Banks, Tony Escobar and Art LeFrancois. 

Participants may register at bit.ly/know-your-rights101

For more information about the OCU forum, call Johnson at 917-734-3290 or Artisha Woody at 405-834-7980.