Watch the conversation here:

Film screening: At your home, via PBS.org. available October 16 — November 15

Panel discussion: 7 PM on Monday, November 16, via Zoom video conference

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a new PBS Frontline documentary asks: Can police departments be reformed? To find out, the film looks at the efforts to change the work of policing in one city: Newark, New Jersey.

New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb — a college friend of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka — chronicles his years reporting on the Newark police in this documentary, which examines both the three-year Department of Justice investigation into the city’s police department and its aftermath, including the difficulties of fixing the department’s broken relationship with the community after decades of mutual mistrust.

This event, a part of NJPAC’s PSEG True Diversity Film Series, will look at the effort to reform police through Policing the Police 2020 —  and talk about the issue with a panel including a police officer, a victim of over-policing, and community leaders.

This season, the films NJPAC will present through the PSEG True Diversity Film Series will focus on social and racial justice, in response to the uprisings against systemic racism that have spread around the globe in 2020. To continue these presentations safely during the pandemic, we have redesigned this series to work like a book club: We’ll all watch the selected films at our homes, then come together on a Zoom video conference to discuss the film with panelists who can offer context and insight.

We encourage everyone to view this PBS special, Policing the Police 2020, and then join us for a virtual panel discussion at 7PM on November 16, moderated by Newark native William Simpson, a Senior Strategist at Equal Justice USA, who has worked with communities around the country in building healing responses to trauma and addressing racial equity through organizing and advocacy. With our panelists, he’ll lead a discussion about potential reforms to address police use of excessive force,  alternatives to traditional law enforcement, and other aspects of the current debate.

Our panelists:

Jason Maurice Dotson, a project manager at Newark’s Pride Center and a licensed clinical therapist for at-risk children.

Aqeela Sherrills, the Director of the non-profit Newark Community Street Team, Mayor Baraka’s community-based violence reduction initiative. For the past three years, Aqeela has also worked with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.

Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, the 14th Colonel of the New Jersey State Police. He has served more than 25 years with the New Jersey State Police, and previously served as its Deputy Superintendent of Operations overseeing nearly 1,800 troopers.

Linda McDonald Carter, an Associate Professor and Director of the Paralegal Studies Program at Essex County College, who grew up in the Scudder Housing Project in Newark’s Central Ward. She formed one of the first and largest New Jersey law firms led by African-American women, Jersey, Richardson, Stephens, Powell and Carter LLC.