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Anti-Police Discrimination Campaigner to Visit US

9 May 2015 at 2:08 pm
Xavier Smerdon
A leading campaigner against racial discrimination by Victoria Police is one of three community leaders who will visit the US on a study tour of Not for Profit and advocacy organisations.

Xavier Smerdon | 9 May 2015 at 2:08 pm


Anti-Police Discrimination Campaigner to Visit US
9 May 2015 at 2:08 pm

A leading campaigner against racial discrimination by Victoria Police is one of three community leaders who will visit the US on a study tour of Not for Profit and advocacy organisations.

Tamar Hopkins, founder of the Police Accountability Project, along with Tanya Hosch from the Recognise campaign and Brendan Sydes from Environmental Justice Australia (EJA), has been awarded a spot on the Australian Progress 2015 US Study Tour in July.                   

Hopkins, Principal Solicitor at the Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre, has worked alongside young African-Australian men in inner Melbourne and was a driving participant in the unprecedented Haile-Michael v Konstantinidis Federal Court racial profiling claim against Victoria Police.

The case led to a commitment from Victoria Police to stamp out racial profiling.

Hopkins said she hoped to learn valuable lessons from her trip to the US that she could implement in Australia.

“The fight for justice against police brutality and racism is international. Policing systems around the world, and especially in the US, are struggling to shake off racism,” Hopkins said.

“This is a great opportunity to bring back lessons from campaigns in the US to eliminate racism in policing.”

Brendan Sydes, CEO of EJA, led a transformation in the practice of environmental law and will study climate change and community activism in the US.

“The study tour will be an intense immersion in new ideas and it is timely, as we are on the cusp of a radical transformation in public interest lawyering in Australia. I’m really looking forward to studying how climate change got back on the policy agenda in the US,” Sydes said.          

Tanya Hosch, Joint Campaign Director at Recognise, is leading a campaign to achieve constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“I feel privileged to be given this opportunity to enhance my campaign experience to deal with the racial discrimination in Australia’s founding document,” Hosch said.

My goal is to take the knowledge that will be gained and invest it in the nation building activity that constitutional change is.”                   

Chair of the Reichstein Foundation, Jill Reichstein, said all three leaders were worthy recipients of the scholarship.

“All of these strong community advocates are working on difficult and urgent issues: policing, environmental sustainability and Indigenous rights. We wish them well on their study tour,” Reichstein said.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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One comment

  • donalds says:

    ~ Our good, brave, honest police officers and agents with integrity deserve not only better training and standards, but leaders that lead by good example in their agencies for their officers to follow. It is up to the management to weed out the bad apples and when one of their own breaks the law or their own code of conduct or ethics, or even a mistake, it is their superiors that have to take responsibility and hold them accountable. The lives of all law enforcement officers are in their care. As are the lives of the public. People want the Truth. ~ Bad cops lie, falsify reports, plant evidence, use excessive force, flat out lie under oath in a court of law. And never even blink. ~ And good ones sometimes feel like they have to also and break their own code of ethics and conduct to cover for the bad ones. Or otherwise be labeled a rat and face retaliation. If any officer breaks the Law, Code of Conduct or Ethics, he should not be shielded by the Police Bill of Rights. ~ What is more concerning and a national security threat, is what the bad apples do off duty, or on duty but off camera……………….? ~ Yes, polygraphs can be beat. Yes, the are inadmissable in court. Yes, they are only as good as the examiner. But if used as a tool to weed out the bad apples, and protect the good cops, maybe they would think twice before breaking the very laws they were sworn to uphold. ~ All Levels of Law Enforcement have for decades felt that the polygraph is a much needed and essencial part of the hiring process. Why not change Policy that Polygraphs and Psych Evals for new Hires expire every 5yrs? (Including applicants for higher ranking positions) ~ National Institute of Ethics: Police Code of Silence – Facts Revealed ~ Police Corruption and Misconduct legal definition… ~ National Instititute of Justice: Police Discipline: A Case for Change… ~ The Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project ~ Police Misconduct and 'Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights' Laws | Cato @ Liberty… ~ Center for Investigative Reporting ~ "Crossing the line: Corruption at the border" – ~ DoD: Random Lie-Detector Tests Increase Personnel Security… ("the polygraph is the single most effective tool for finding information people were trying to hide.") ~ Federal, State and Local Governments (including police) are excluded from the Polygraph Act of 1988. ~ Break the Code. Break the Culture.

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