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Feb 18, 2016

Former MPD Chief Murphy on PBS NewsHour

     Murphy is the Chief Deputy for the Montgomery County Sheriff's office now, but the interview on tonight's broadcast involved an action he took at city Chief. The incident in which he handed his badge to Rep. John Lewis has been well reported locally, but nice to see it recognized nationally. During the interview, Murphy tells about the civil rights classes he started when he became chief:

We went way back in history to the Dred Scott decision all the way through to the Emmett Till case, because I wanted the officers to experience what really happened.
You know, what my observation was is, you have a 21-year-old officer who had never lived through or seen the civil rights era for what it was, the dark reality of it. And so this young officer would stop an African-American citizen and get somewhat of a pushback, because maybe this 60- or 75-year-old African-American citizen’s last encounter with a Montgomery police officer was very negative.
After they attended the class, I saw a lot of promise, in that, the next time they encountered that citizen, they felt like: I understand now.

You can watch the seven-minute long segment online HERE.

A personal note. The day Murphy became chief, I covered the ceremony. I asked him about the significance of taking control of a department with such a terrible race relations record. I was later criticized by for asking those questions. But they were the right questions to ask.

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