Who is civil rights attorney Connie Rice


Connie Rice at Congresswoman Karen Bass' Town Hall Meeting on Community Policing at Ward AME Church January 24, 2015. photo Urban Girl Media

Connie Rice at Congresswoman Karen Bass’ Town Hall Meeting on Community Policing at Ward AME Church January 24, 2015. photo Urban Girl Media

On Saturday, January 24th, Congressmember Karen Bass hosted a community forum titled “21st Century Policing:  A Forum on President Obama’s New Taskforce” with task force member Connie Rice.  Asm. Reggie Jones-Sawyer rounded out the panel.  Both Rice and Jones-Sawyer have strong ties to former City of LA Mayor Richard J. Riordan.  Many in the crowd were critical of Rice, and elected officials, who would be taking the community’s questions and concerns back to Washington D.C.  I’ve learned the art of reading body language from Atlanta-based blogger SandraRose of and a catchy song by Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown.  And Ms. Rice’s body language was screaming she was tired.

As the community asked their questions we heard from Compton activist Molly (To God be the Glory) Bell and Big Money Griff, who both pleaded to community writer Larry Aubry, to make sure the communities comments and concerns, made the newspaper.  A passionate resident from Watts was also in attendance.  My apologies for not writing down his name.

We came together to discuss the idea of “community policing” and if it works.  The audience had mixed reviews.  The most passionate discussion of community policing working came from the Watts resident.  He cited the reduction in reported gang related crimes.  We can recall Channel 7 news celebrating with the residents that the projects had not seen a murder in three years.  Another glowing example are the LAPD’s Watts Bears.  A youth football team that was recently featured on an episode of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”.  So yes, there are instances of Connie’s work benefiting the community, but has it helped the masses?

Related video:  Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Episode 212, November 25, 2014

Before I can get into the real story I want to write, we have to first look at the significance of civil rights attorney Constance “Connie” Rice.  I attended the meeting without having done any research on her.  I didn’t want an unconscious bias to prevent a balanced story.  The men in the audience were unapologetic in their anger and frustration with her.  This made it all more the reason to get to know her before writing the real story.

In addition to being the cousin to our beloved former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Connie has a long history of fighting for civil rights.  Be it for the bus riders union,  to police brutality, Connie has spent many of her nearly 59 years on Earth, fighting on behalf of the disenfranchised.  The question is, how far will the system allow her to go?

Connie’s biggest challenge was bringing reform to the LAPD after the 1992 riots and subsequent Rampart Scandal.  Rice is credited with guiding the LAPD from out of a federal decree which came about due to allegations of excessive force, false arrest and illegal search and seizure.  The Christopher Commission was also created to conduct ‘a full and fair examination of the structure and operation of the LAPD,’ including its recruitment and training practices, internal disciplinary system, and citizen complaint system.

The Christopher Commission found that only forty-two of 2,152 allegations of excessive force from 1986 to 1990 were sustained – or less than 2 percent.[2] “According to the Christopher Commission ‘… the complaint system is skewed against complainants.'”[2] “The majority of investigations at that time were done by division staff, not IAD, and the commission found this seriously problematic because division investigators often failed even to interview or identify witnesses.”   Do people believe it?

Amazingly, after understanding the inner workings of the LAPD, probably better than anyone, and having been the guiding force to moving LAPD out of the federal decree, and with the Christopher Commission confirming there is bias in internal investigations, was it a slap in the community’s face when Connie Rice found the [LAPD] department not liable for their role in the firing of Christopher Dorner and his claims unfounded?  Isn’t that why she had to lead them out of a federal decree?  Didn’t the Christopher Commission determine there is bias within the discipline system?

Blogger Jasmyne A. Cannick showed us otherwise, as well, in her article titled “LAPD Sergeant Teresa Evans Lied and I Can Prove It.

Did I also mention Connie Rice is on the board of my favorite news blogs for all things wrong in education and law enforcement, KPCC?  Tomorrow we look at the actual meeting itself and what questions I would like Connie Rice to take back to President Obama’s taskforce.

One Response so far.

  1. […] conducting more research into Constance “Connie” Rice I can see she has roots in civil rights work that goes far beyond reforming the LAPD.  She was […]

About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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