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Connie Rice: "We're Still Fighting The Last Battles Of The American Civil War"

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Civil rights lawyer Connie Rice is a black woman who has worked for decades to reform the Los Angeles Police Department — from the courthouse, the pulpit and inside the squad room. So she can assess this moment in U.S. history from a multitude of angles.

And she did recently in an interview with KPCC AirTalk Host Larry Mantle.

"For the officers, they see it as just one incident, many see it as a rogue officer," she said of George Floyd's death, which has been ruled a homicide.

"To the community, however, policing is ... the interface of the systemic oppression that slaves, freed Africans, freed African Americans, and now African Americans today have lived under.

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And you're talking about an overlay of a COVID pandemic that has stripped away the mask and revealed the deep, savage inequalities that are fueling the rage."

Rice said we're still fighting "the last battles of the American Civil War."

But she said we have a model for fixing policing, one that Rice said is based on keeping everyone safe and rewarding cops for avoiding arrest and the use of force.

"When you have that happening, you have the policing for 21st century America," she said. "You have the policing that will make sure that the riots that we're seeing today and the uprisings we're seeing today are no longer necessary."