Hillary Potter, Ph.D., author and associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, presented “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Examining the Case of Michael Brown, Community Activism, and Law Enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri” on February 25, 2016. The event, hosted by the Department of Criminal Justice, drew faculty and students from across disciplines, including psychology, social work, biblical studies, and political science. Potter, whose research focuses on analyzing the intersection of race, gender, and class as they relate to crime and violence, offered insight into the case that continues to impact the nation.

Deshonna Collier-Goubil, Ph.D., chair and associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, invited Potter as part of an ongoing effort to expose her students to the depth and breadth of the criminal justice field, educate the APU community about the new department’s scope and function, and engage Christians in important conversations about critical social issues. To this end, Potter offered a scholarly perspective on the Brown case gleaned from firsthand observations and data collection in Ferguson. During that time, she was teargassed, maced, and arrested along with residents and protestors. She shared her eyewitness experience with the APU community, along with the pertinent facts of the case, including official police reports. Primarily, she emphasized the importance of sifting through conjecture, feelings, and emotions in order to reveal truth and how to approach such incidents as a scholar.

Cultivating a campus culture that facilitates scholarly debate, the department will continue to invite expert speakers who model the essence of difference makers, including the next event on April 8, A Day of Dialogue, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Institute for Nonviolence, which will focus on the future of policing.