How did you design a response plan?


Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I would go over to the hospital, police department, sheriff's department, the schools, and all of these different places because it's important to know the geographical area that they're talking about. It was very important for me to know where everything in town was located, so that way I didn't have to ride with the chief or the mayor. I could get by on my own so if they said, "Meet me at so-and-so cafeteria at such- and-such a place," or "Meet me at the school or at the police department or city hall," I would pretty much know where all these places were located sometimes.



Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You mentioned a checklist -- is this a mental checklist that you have?

Answer:
A mental checklist, yes.

Question:
And what's on this checklist?

Answer:
Who's to be involved, certain time limits, what goals and objectives did they set that were different than what you had originally thought of terms of. Who else they are involving and any money that is involved. Also, what additional role is there for me? What will I be able to do? Who am I going to assist? Am I going to assist a Human Relations Council, or am I going to assist the people, or do I assist them together? It's much easier if we can work harmoniously with all the groups as they come together, than to assist one over the other, because it may appear as if we're taking a position with the Human Relations Commission and have forgotten about them being able to represent themselves and speak for themselves.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
At that point did you have a goal in mind of what you wanted to happen out of this?

Answer:
Yeah. The goal was to be prepared to respond to conflict between Olympic people and the community that it impacted, and secondarily the people who were coming to the Olympics from all over the world. We wanted to be prepared to respond to any conflicts that took place amongst the people that were coming to attend the Olympics, not just the ones that live here. But it was basically to be able to just provide conciliation services. We also wanted to have input into the planning process, and particularly in the contingency planning process where you do get this kind of stuff.

Question:
Now did you solicit the help of the key parties in developing your goals, or was that something CRS did?

Answer:
No.

Question:
Okay.

Answer:
So it got to a point where we were done with the assessment and I kind of determined a plan of action. Here's what CRS plugs into this whole thing, here's what CRS ought to be prepared to do, and here's what it's going to take to do that. We were going to utilize all the regional staff and I think at that time there were six of us. The Olympics go on 14-18 hours a day every day for 14 days, and do so at multiple sites (e.g., in Atlanta there were events taking place all the way in Savannah, Georgia, which is a five hour drive up in the mountains) and there were also various venues that were anywhere from 10 to 50 miles out of Atlanta. So it wasn't like you were just going into one area and dealing with the situation. We had a multitude of venues, and sites. Atlanta was the key one, but the other ones had the potential for conflict between people, so we had to be open to that. So we needed a lot people to come in. As I recall I think the total was sixteen people in all. The basic design was that all the people would come in for the fourteen days straight, but then there would be breaks provided, based on how things were working. When things were slow we had the luxury of taking a break or something. I had two person teams. We had sixteen people so I think it broke down to two eight-person teams and actually I was monitoring the whole thing. And it was set up so that we had all the venue sites covered when we needed to have them covered. It was set up so that we would have all the time periods of each date covered; it was just a matter of logistically assigning people to the right place at the right time. And then we also had it built in that people were available to move should something come up in some place external to the place they were positioned at any point in time. People were mobile.

Question:
Were you looking for certain things?

Answer:
Well what we were trying to do is monitor the whole process. The people that I brought in were all experienced staff. But I just lost my train of thought.

Question:
You were telling me what things you were looking for.

Answer:
We knew for example, that the venues in downtown Atlanta were pushing right up against, and actually into some of the lower income areas in Atlanta where there's a high density of people living. And because of the Olympics, the flow of traffic was changed so you couldn't drive down the same street that you always drove down and some streets were closed at certain times, and others were blocked off completely. There was just a lot of disruption of the normal flow of movement within the city. And so you've got these, things going on, but you have all these factors that come together. And you've got law enforcement everywhere and you've got it from all kinds of places. I mean not only are they physically all over the place, but they are from at all parts of the country and all different levels of government. The one thing that they've got in common is that they are all law enforcement people concerned with security. You know they don't want anybody to get hurt. And of course you know we've got that bomb thing here and that's why they are out there. But in the process of doing their job they were injuring other people's ability to do things. So we knew there were going to be flash points where people were going to get hot and there was going to be confrontation. Once people get into a confrontation the next thing you know you've got a crowd and the potential is there for violence. We couldn't stop that, but in the preplanning and the contingency plan we talked about a bunch of these things, made suggestions and recommendations. But when we were actually on-site the idea was to be there and to be ready to move because you can't be everywhere at once and you can't identify all of them so you just have to be prepared to go. I mean you might actually see something and respond to it right away but what we did was we would get notified that there was a potential problem so someone would go over there and start to deal with it. And I'll talk to you about how that activity went. So you know people were out there and basically doing what CRS does.

Question:
Were you talking to people this whole time, or were you just sort of walking around patrolling?

Answer:
We were in constant contact with the law. For example you would be walking in this one area, say around the Omni where there were a lot of events going on, and there were people all over the place on the streets and everything else. We would just touch base with the law enforcement people on the scene. Ideally we would try to touch base with whoever was the commander for that particular sector, but we would also talk to the officers that were just standing on the street corner. "Hey what's going on? How are things going?" And that sort of thing. We would talk to people just on more of a friendly basis then anything else because as soon as you start questioning somebody who wasn't officially there they're going to wonder why you're asking this and that can create a problem. So there's only in terms of "Hi, how are you?" type stuff. The rest of it was in keeping in touch with local law enforcement people that were on site. There was a main command post and we had somebody in there 24 hours a day. And everything that happened flowed through the command post and every action that was taken flowed out of the command post. So we sat there with everybody else and we knew almost instantaneously what was going on. I equipped everybody with cell phones. We didn't try to use walkie-talkies or anything because there were a zillion of them around. So, we were in instant communication amongst ourselves. There was one large board that was a running incident schedule that logged the time, the location, and what happened. It was constantly changing, growing, but it told everybody in there what was going on and if there was something that was a potential problem, it told whoever was in charge of the command post. The commander would make a verbal announcement to everybody in there about what was going on and give all the latest information and that kind of thing. So we were constantly in touch with our command post and we knew what was going on all over the place because everything flowed into there. So we would use that as a guide of where we would go and what we would do. And we would also feed information into that process if we saw something happening or if we thought something needed to be addressed. We would call our person at the command post who would talk to the person he needed to talk to and there would be an instantaneous response. That was a real neat set up because it worked really well and if you consider the number of people involved it was amazing that it did. But it worked really well in terms of information moving around. So that's kind of how we came up with where we went. And there were a few, but not many, but a few announced events. Nothing pops to mind immediately, but there were times where an organization or a group said they were going to protest at such and such a site because so and so is there. Most of those protests were political in nature and they were foreign, outside of the United States, where people would protest because a particular country was there. But we were always there to deal with the potential that comes from any planned demonstration. No matter how well it's planned the potential of conflict exists so we would cover all of those. We would always have someone present. Since there are so many people involved in those things, we tried to the best of our ability to get to know some of the protestors and other groups that we knew were going to be out there. We would identify their leadership and talk to them in terms of working as a liaison and that kind of stuff.




Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Would you talk about how you designed a plan to handle this case? What did you do at what point? Did it work as you had planned?

Answer:
That's a good question. Once I had the parties' acceptance to enter into mediation, in that case hearing from them in these separate meetings and then later jointly, it was clear that we were kind of locked into boilerplate solutions, which is not acceptable to either side. Once I saw that, then I began to talk with people about what some other solutions might be. My approach to mediation is I feel some responsibility as a mediator to be part of finding solutions. I think some would say, no it's really the burden of the parties, but I think at times a mediator has to come up with some ideas to help flush out possibilities. In fact in this situation later on when we were close to finishing the case one of the attorneys before the plaintiffs said that one of the things that they were never sure of was when I would make suggestions, were they coming from the community, maybe they were coming from the other side? As a mediator making a suggestion, I don't mean to cloud or muddy the waters by one side wondering about whether or not what's being suggested is something the other side wants.

Question:
In your mind are these solutions or suggestions different from goals?

Answer:
Well, early on we tried to set goals. To me it was always like finding a common interest so I guess the common interest then becomes your goal. Finding the solutions to those common goals, that's where you're going to deal with a lot of work. Usually a goal is a common interest or can be understood or agreed to. It's the process of how you get to the common interest which really becomes a problem. In this case it was trying to find a plan that would demonstrate that the schools within the city had been integrated. The solution came from an organization within the community. They came up with a plan for how you could determine whether or not there had been a change in the population and the teaching staff of the school district. So the difference was that it shifted away from the school district and it gave the school district more flexibility instead of having to implement specific plans or specific programs. It gave them flexibility on a school-by-school basis. Students ended up selecting some of the schools, and these became special kinds of schools, like magnet schools. Initially they were fighting sides, we're going to chop the school district up this was and that way. We're going to send these kids from this place over to that place. At that point magnet schools had a good track record. By using this system of determining numbers it was given some flexibility but at the same time the school district would be held to some marker on how they were going to bring change and for some reason that solution was what changed the discussion.

Question:
Let me back up a second, how did you determine what your role would be and how was that influenced by the parties?

Answer:
This case was I don't know how many years old. It had been hanging around the courts probably for 12 years or more so there was a lot of history there. Things going nowhere and people fighting back-and-forth in the courts about it and nothing happening. But I think the four people that came together in this negotiating team, two from the plaintiffs and two from the defendants, just clicked and there was not a lot of mistrust. I think they were really sincerely interested in working with each other and felt that they were all sincerely committed to finding a solution.

Question:
And actually that's my next question, how important was it for you to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Oh well, you know probably in almost all cases there's an outsider and you're always faced with that because in most cases people don't know you. At this particular time, and at any time over the history of CRS being a representative of the Justice Department, you were always suspect by somebody and it would depend on the community, depend on the times that would shift, who was particularly suspicious about who you were. The way that you overcome that is just by sitting down and talking with people and demonstrating to them you're committed, you're involved in helping them find a solution. You can be answering questions people have concerns about, if they have any, what they see as leniency on one side or the other. If you try to clear that up they will come to trust you, but it takes some work and preparation. I think over time as they see that you're there to be of help, there are no suspicions about where your commitments are. It's only over a period of time that as people get to know you, those sorts of suspicions get to be set aside.

Question:
What were some specific trust- building strategies or activities that you used when either race, ethnicity, gender, or CRS affiliation was an issue?

Answer:
I would find someone from whatever the community it might be and in this particular situation it was in the black and the white community. I knew that if I would involve the community in this process it would be helpful to have people within the community who knew me, to introduce me to people and become a bridge and to be a patron of what was happening. And in that particular case there was a prominent State Legislator that I had known for many years and he was well loved in the community and became my bridge into that community. There were parts of the community that I needed to have some access to. It was also true on the other side that we were going to want the business community leaders in particular cities to be committed because in this particular city nothing happened unless a "blue book business" leader was being alarmed. So again, it was through someone I had met in the city, in another case, that became the bridge into that organization where I could go over there and speak and talk about what I was trying to do. I could win their support that if we could reach an agreement it was going to be something the business community was going to support.

Question:
In this particular case, this wasn't a community that you lived in. How did you cultivate those networks of people that you could call?

Answer:
I had other cases in this community before so I knew individuals here and there, and that's one of the real things. In that case it was a blessing because so many times you may go into a city and you have no context at all. That really makes it even more difficult.

Question:
In those instances where you don't have any networks or any people to intervene for you how do you build networks, or find them? How do you identify the resources?

Answer:
Well, I think mediation is a lot of work. I think you have to be willing to just talk to a lot of people and as you do, you're not only introducing yourself to people in the community, but you're receiving information that might help find a solution. And so it's just a lot of work and talking to people. I think by helping parts of the community become involved in finding solutions, sometimes what CRS has done is understanding the problem. For some reason the parties never seem to come together, or when they do come together it never goes anywhere and CRS, when it works well, helps things come together and if you can do that, then that in itself gives you a new standing and gives you a credibility that you are able to do something. You were able to bring talks together and just by being able to do that, it adds something to your name. Then you have to continue and show the parties that you're committed to helping them find a solution.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Could you talk a little bit about how you prepared for your on-site intervention when you first got to town.

Answer:
You work on the basic knowledge you have as to what you do when conflict is ongoing. It is pretty given, for experienced people, as to what you do when you go into a city that's already in conflict. The first thing to do is to try to get a handle on the nature of the conflict, who's causing the conflict, who could bring resolution to the conflict and then you start there. You start with the people who are raising the issues, at least I do. Some people start by going to officials. I never do that, because I want to know, in the eyes of those who are raising the issue, what they consider the problems to be. So when I go to the mayor, when I go to the chief of police, I have a fix on what the problem is, as seen by those who are raising the issue.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
We don't say, "Figure out what your goals are." Flip that over and say, "Identify what the issues are." And that's the next phase. There was a guy who wanted to know how I got involved in the Justice Department. And I told him, "I'm not the issue." You have to identify the issues. In the meantime, you're developing relationships.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Now, I'm one of those people who starts off every case initially by saying to myself, "Okay, how can I bring this to mediation?" It helps me from day one, minute one to have an agenda in my mind. As I'm working toward that, it may become clear fairly quickly that the case is not going to go to mediation, and that's fine. But if I start out thinking that it might go to mediation, I have a perspective to work from when I approach the parties. If that doesn't work, then I ask myself, "Is there some training we can do? What other kinds of assistance can we provide? Are there some documents I can give them, or maybe I can just facilitate some meetings?" or whatever. But usually, unless I am asked specifically to come in for some other purpose, I'll assume we're trying to initiate mediation. Remember the case I was talking about earlier, about tax day? In that case I was asked to come to facilitate the meeting. I ended up facilitating another one similar to that about a month later in the same community. And there were some great things that came out of that, so it was a very rewarding and beneficial event. But that would be an example of where I didn't attempt to go toward mediation, even though there were some pretty good outcomes that arose from that particular situation.



Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So protest activity by itself can lead to a lot of frustration and anger and that can lead to nothing. But, if directed, it might lead to getting at some of the issues and problems that are affecting the relationship between the police and community. It can be a springboard to doing something positive. The two things that have to be taken care of from our perspective, as I see it is, first, we need to know what can be done about the specific shooting itself and the redress systems for the shooting. So that was the first thing. We've got to clarify that and put it into perspective. It gives them a sense of direction to follow if they want to and it puts that aside because we really can't do anything about the investigation or prosecution. Then it gets into analyzing and assessing what else is taking place in that community that, with the attention given to this, that maybe we can help both the police and the community to deal with it. Anger is there. So what we are trying to do is get that tension directed into some effective type of response. That's the process of talking with community leaders. In that information gathering they start talking about some of the problems, issues and concerns. After that meeting I had a meeting with the chief coming up and the superintendent and country supervisor. So I got enough information there and said to the community leaders, "Well, in general would you like to pursue this and deal with some of these problems if we can get the chief and the county authorities to address some of these issues?" And they said, "Yes." So I went back and met with the chief. When he told me the shooting was a justifiable police action, I said, "Well you know, there are a lot of other things the community is concerned about," and I mentioned several. He was defensive saying, "Oh, we are doing this, we're doing that." Then I used the argument from our experience in other places and said, "You know, we recommend meeting face-to-face with the community leaders. We can facilitate the meeting, so you can have discussions with the community right there about these issues. We think it would be helpful." He agreed, and most often, I think, police chiefs do agree to meet with community leaders on police-type conflicts.





Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you have any routine assessments or anything you do, where you go into communities and try to figure out how long these fuses are, or how quickly they are burning, however you want to use your metaphor? Do you go in and assess the situation without being called in?

Answer:
Well, I do try to find out how much support there is in the community for a particular perspective and for a particular perception. I do that partly to get a better view of what's going on, partly for practical reasons I mean, if we are supposed to be dealing with community issues and it is really just the Hansen family that doesn't like the way the local police captain is handling things, it is going to be difficult to handle that as a potential mediation or as a community conflict. So, just to see whether there is, in fact, a real community entity that wants to deal with this issue, because if there isn't, it is very difficult for us to do anything. So, it's really just to evaluate the depth of support and willingness to engage. I might find that everyone I talk to whether in the local restaurant or at the local Post Office or wherever agrees that such-and-such is a problem but no one really wants to do anything. Then my hands are tied, too, because if I don't have two parties with which to mediate, there isn't a whole lot that I can do. And in meeting with the institution... Now if that institution recognizes that there is some problem in their relationship with the community, they might want some training or some facilitation meetings, or some examples of how to do things, or approaches they might use with the police department or the school. And of course, we would be willing to do that. But, it's difficult if there isn't a critical mass, and it doesn't have to be a large mass, but there needs to be some core community base which wants to bring about the change. And the other reason that that "critical mass" is important is that those people are going to need to keep things going after CRS leaves. If changes are made in a community only because the Justice Department recommends them, there's a real risk of the changes falling apart once the Justice Department is gone. Unless you have a local body that is going to hold the right people accountable, there isn't a whole lot that CRS is going to be able to do in the long run.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In organizing an agenda do you have any criteria that determines what should come first, last, and come in the middle?

Answer:
Well, like in the UMass case that we talked about, matters of immediate importance had to be addressed first. They basically agreed to what was important and what steps could take place. They were on the same page on security and safety and it was a matter of fine tuning and getting some of these training programs through.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Who put the agenda together? Was that a one shot mediation?

Answer:
I think that was a two shot...two days, and they were long sessions, like 4 hours.

Question:
Two consecutive days?

Answer:
Yes, I believe so.

Question:
Who put the agenda together for the meeting?

Answer:
I put the agenda together and we did that through the earlier consensus process with the complaints. We listed all of those issues and shared it with the university and they looked at those issues and added issues. Even after we went to the table, other issues subsequently came up. So it wasn't on our initial agenda as I recall. But the agenda was agreed upon prior to entering mediation.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I just felt that racial tension wasn't there. But what we decided to do was, a couple of the African-American leaders requested that there be a survey, that they ask questions like, "Do you feel safe on the school grounds?"





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We started from the very beginning when the people decided they were going to fight against the Vietnam War. They were developing this march from the park, Rubin Salazar Park, and it was going to end at East L.A. College. So what we had to begin to do was start planning what was going to occur. That included the sheriff. The park is on Indiana Street and on the west side is LAPD territory and on the east side is L.A. County Sheriff's. East L.A. college is in the sheriff's territory and the route was going to take place on Purdue Boulevard, all the way to Atlantic Boulevard, North on Atlantic Avenue to Brooklyn Avenue, which is now Cesar Chavez Boulevard, and then west to East L.A. College. So the route had to be developed. My boss, Ed, and Gonzalo were involved in that and Gonzalo and I were later involved with the city. We were also involved with the college board to get the use of the stadium so everybody could file in there and then have speeches and all that. Well in the end, we weren't allowed that, so we had to meet at East L.A. Park, which has a large field. But the problem was that it was right next to the sheriff's department substation. So that's how the thing was. We weren't successful in getting East L.A. College. So then we had to meet with the sheriff and the sheriff gave us a battle about the crowd and about the people and "How in the hell can the Department of Justice get involved in something like this," "All you're doing is giving these people permission..." Also they were upset with the Latinos because the Latinos were against the Vietnam war and they were against the sheriff, and all his shenanigans against the Latino community. Rubin Salazar had written a really devastating report against law enforcement. The chief of police of L.A. had gone to the L.A. Times and stated to the publisher that, "This reporter, Rubin Salazar is out there agitating the Mexicans and they're not ready for this kind of activity." It was like the former chief of Police of L.A. saying, "The Mexicans are just that far from running around from tree to tree with their tails." He was no longer the chief then. But the law enforcement types went up to him and said the Mexicans weren't ready to receive this kind of information that Rubin Salazar was expounding on. So then Salazar responded by writing this huge report about law enforcement and actually chastising the L.A. Times for even being willing to listen to the cops about the Mexicans' readiness to get this kind of information. So the stage was set in the sense that the Latinos were saying, "We're going to have this march, no matter what you say." And the cops were saying, "You'd better behave because we're going to be out there in large numbers." So L.A. County and probably the CIA were involved. There was a lot of paranoia about the CIA being involved and taking names down and taking pictures, and I'm sure they were involved. Also the state law enforcement types and the sheriff's department were involved too. In order to get good information, they got all their Latino officers to infiltrate the park area. I thought, "This is going to be funny." So the situation started and everybody was really concerned because they knew that if they could just get out of the park, everything would be okay. And as they went down the street, they knew that if no one misbehaved himself, including the law enforcement people, it was going to be okay. So every time you heard a siren, you froze, because at the time they didn't have the wails, they had the sirens. It just so happens that at the same time, a Latino kid tried to walk out with something without paying and the shopkeeper called the cops. So that, to them, was the start of the problem. But they came and everybody behaved themselves and nothing happened. So they went to the park, but the tension was already really high. One of your famous people there in Denver, Corky Gonzales, came here. He was doing his thing on top of the truck bed. He was really going well. Then someone lit a firecracker, and so the problem started. The police moved in and they started moving people and the Latinos refused to move. The police also said before that, "You've got five minutes to clear," to make it official and legal. But they wouldn't move and then the police started moving in. Well, at that point, when it's declared illegal, you don't stop and talk to an officer as he's trying to move you out, saying, "This is against my constitutional rights," and this kind of thing, and so they started moving in. So the problems started and the violence began and people were scampering all over the place and clubs were swinging. The funny part was, here were all these undercover officers, on their knees waving their badges. And some of them got zonked. So the problem had already begun and they started marching down and the police tried to keep things in some kind of order. Small scrimmages sprung up all over the place and it wasn't until Atlantic Blvd., that a sergeant from the sheriff's department suspected that there was some illegal activity going on in the Silver Dollar Bar. So the damn fool shot a flair into the bar, and it hit Rubin Salazar right in the head. Of course it imbedded itself into his head, obviously he died, and that was it. When people heard that had happened, East L.A. went up in flames. Most of them moved to East L.A. Park where to this day, we believe that there was a provocateur from law enforcement that said, "This is what's happened down on Whittier Blvd, let's go after him. The sheriff's killed Rubin! Let's go after them!" So there's the sheriff's building there and they began to go there. Nothing really happened to the department, it's just that people began getting beat. And so we were trying to break things up and get people to move all over the place. Also at that time, there was this group called the Brown Berets. They were involved and they had their bus somewhere. So I was standing here and the leader came up very concerned that although everybody's getting pushed around and bounced on, that they're going to really catch hell. So he said, "Our bus is down...Can you guys help us get there?" So I said, "Sure." So two other guys and I escorted them a mile and a half to their bus. We got them there, got them in their bus, had them wait there. Then somebody on our staff went and picked up his car, and I got in the front car and we said, "Let's go." We caravanned them out of East L.A. and dropped them off on the freeway where we waved goodbye... So that was our contribution to their safety. I don't remember how many days that lasted, but it really lasted overnight and then the next day, sporadic firing and that kind of thing. A lot of businesses went up in flames. And then came time to start the thing all over again. So we sat down to see if we couldn't make friends and not be angry and love each other. But that was the moratorium. The thing was that law enforcement wasn't that sophisticated about what they were supposed to do during these activities. In fact, although we had experiences in the past, we had only experiences in the civil rights kind of thing where you march with the group and you do it until the end and then if you're attacked, you're part of being attacked. In this case, we were observing and we tried beforehand to work into getting them to accept some things, so that it would move more smoothly, but none of us got hurt. One worker got put in jail, he was arrested. But no one got hurt.



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So had you already set up your game plan and how you wanted to proceed before you actually got on-site, or is it something that you designed in Denver?

Answer:
I was initially briefed over the telephone by both Manny Salinas and Wilbur Reed and they gave me a lot of background, including names, names which didn't mean anything to me at the time. And of course eventually I would put the faces to the names and their backgrounds.

Question:
Now did that help you to prepare your course of action for the meeting, by giving that background information?

Answer:
Little question about that. Otherwise I wouldn't have had any idea, other than I had had the experience of having participated in a similar meeting, but at that time, I participated as a media manager, not as a -- I'm not even sure we used the word "mediator" -- at the time.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

After you decided to become involved in the case did you design a plan for handling this particular conflict prior to going on-site?

Answer:
Generally, the first on-site is the assessment part of it and a major part of that assessment is to determine whether or not these issues are negotiable.

Question:
Is that your decision?

Answer:
Yeah, it's our decision to make. Are they negotiable? Do they have some type of fall-back positions? Are the parties willing to work at it? And most importantly, are they willing to work and allow CRS to work with them? Sometimes we'll get half answers, not full answers. But we'll still continue on the gut feeling that we can be successful.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

That results from looking and listening and making a detailed assessment. You look at people and see who they're talking with, and try to make a determination whether they are sincere in their efforts, or they're just promoting themselves at the expense of the group. And many times you're fooled into supporting or associating with the wrong person. But you just can't go in and assume that a given person is the leader. You have to find out who the real leader is. It may not be the one up there talking, the one who has the microphone. Sometimes it's the person standing there with a pair of coveralls on and his hands up into the bib area. So you have to do an accurate assessment to find out who the leader is. Then you begin to talk with those persons. And then the most important thing is, don't you try to take credit. When I did this, you always say, "Well, thank you." You give them the credit for what they're doing, and you will find out that the result is very rewarding and productive.



Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I just wanted to go back to the power disparity between the groups. You say that it occurs on different levels. I wanted to know, what did you do to equal the power, keeping in mind the Indian tribe has Congressional concerns?

Answer:
That's a very good question. Back in my assessment, I would have made a judgment whether or not mediation was appropriate here. Mediation would only be appropriate between approximate equals. In other words, I never would have recommended to either of the parties that they go into mediation if there wasn't some broad semblance of equality. You don't get very far if you have unequals, or obvious gross inequality. It's unfair to involve the weaker party, no matter who they are.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you always have a plan before you went on-site, or did you develop a plan or a goal after you arrived on-site?

Answer:
Usually you have a basic plan of assessments that you start with, the people who have the problem, and confirm what they are concerned about. And that's the beginning of that assessment, answering those basic questions that I had mentioned. This of course relates to both conciliation and mediation. Again, you're seeking to identify the issues and who the party's are, and what would it take to resolve the issues in their eyes. And getting that, you formulate your own conclusions and your own strategy, and then ultimately your recommendations.

Question:
Do the parties have an influence on that strategy?

Answer:
Oh yeah. What you feel like would work might be effective.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Well that's what I'm asking you because you said, "when we are identifying the problem." How did CRS even know there was a problem? Because the potential for the conflict is between the minority community and the law enforcement, is that the assumed conflict? What I am saying is, how do you know if you don't talk to anybody?

Answer:
Well first of all it's not a matter of not talking to people on the other side. When law enforcement is developing contingency plans, and I'm sure there are exceptions, but by and large it's cops figuring out how they are going to respond to a situation without outsiders telling them or helping them because they are trying to figure out what they are going to do -- should x, y, or z happen? In this particular case, unless a group identifies itself and says we are going to be protesting on issue x at venue y, okay, those few that we knew we were in touch with them. Aside from those people we were in touch with, for example, the leadership of the FCLC but we were in touch with the local NAACP's regional office, or we were in touch with other ministerial lines. Those types of leadership people you were in touch with but you were talking about a situation where anybody from off of the street could become involved in a conflict just because of the geography. You were also talking about people coming from all over the world into here and I don't know how you could talk to them. Whether people liked it or not, police are an excellent source of information about what's going on in a community. I can think of one particular situation where we found out that there was a group of people who were coming to be disruptive because that information was generated and we checked it out. What happened was that they were stopped at the airport and put on a plane and sent home. The problem never even materialized, and wasn't even going to get a chance to materialize and I'm not even sure if that was legal. But that was how it was dealt with. I'm just giving you that as an example. We were involved in that discussion about how you deal with these kinds of things because if they would let them in, then the question was how do you deal with the disruption that was always coming. So the decision was made that they're not coming in, simple as that. But, you take into consideration the ability of different groups of people to respond to things in different situations and clearly the official side has a better ability than the community side. They have the structure, and the money to do those things, which the community can't, so you are constantly in touch with those officials because they're the people that move things. You're in touch with community organizations, and the leadership of those organizations, because that's the point of contact you can use to get down to the grassroots. But everybody was surprised at how few planned demonstrations there actually were.




Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So once you got on-site, you did your assessment. How did you establish what your plan of attack – well, terrible phrase.....

Answer:
Freudian. (laughter)

Question:
Yeah – what your plan was going to be?

Answer:
Well, I don’t know. No CRS person is a tabula rasa. You only have kind of an imprint, and part of that comes from having done a number of cases like this in the past. Whatever it is that you’re going to do, you’ve probably done, unless you’re a complete novice. You’ve done something like that in the past, and you already have in your mind – you’ve got a kind of a tableau. And then the question is, you want to see, "Well, does this fit?” If it fits, you might decide to simply use it. If it doesn’t fit, then the question is, how are you going to try to force it to fit? And many CRS people try to do exactly that: They try to force the square peg into the proverbial round hole. It wouldn’t fit, but if you read the reports, they could make fit it anyway! When I was Associate Director of Field Coordination, I spent much of my time reading field reports, but I would also sometimes have independent flows of information. So, I’m reading this report from the beginning of an entry to its closure, a reporting out of the successful concluding of this case, and I said, "Is this person in the same city that....somebody else was?” But in a normative way, what you try to do is go through a series of adjustments: "It looks like this, but no it doesn’t. It doesn’t look like that; so what is it? Something else?” And so there’s this degree of interpretation and categorization that you had to sort of try to do. "How can I then change what I do so that it meets this particular need?” This is a process – and I should know – that can be expanded over some time, and it never stops. So an assessment is ongoing. Sometimes, in a kind of showman-like practice in the moment, you kind of have to make those adjustments right in the middle of a situation. Everybody has to do that; I don’t think that’s different from what anybody else does.






Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In this particular case, what was the approximate turn-around time between when you decided to take the case, you got on sight, and you decided you can go to the table?

Answer:
So you're talking about me formulating recommendations of mediation to the parties?

Question:
Right. After you've talked with the parities involved, and you feel like this is something that could be mediated, and you make that recommendation.

Answer:
No, it's a little more specific than that. I would, after having talked with these various parties, let them know that I'm talking to these other parties. I may not name them all, but I'm asking, "Are there others that I need to talk to?" I've been involved in a lot of questioning with them, and at a certain point, I will say, "I now have some recommendations I'd like to make to you. When can we meet to discuss these?" And at that point, I would have developed answers to those three basic questions and what needs to be done about it. Is this a case where mediation might be effective? And then, once I develop my formulation for the case, that's when I meet with them separately, making no effort to get anybody together. If there's fighting going on, you try your best to stop the violence in order to develop dialogue, but we're not talking about that in this case.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you design a plan for handling this?

Answer:
No, really not. Once they began to ask a few more questions though, and the people began to ask questions or say " we don't like this, or that, or the way the department has handled things before," then the only plan that I had in mind was for me to be able to sell them on the idea that we need to know more, and the way you're going to know more is through a police assessment. I told them that we could handle that for them and bring that team together on behalf of the community and work with the chief to make sure that this is done. And they thought that would be a very good idea, since they knew very little about the department, they thought this would be very helpful to them for the long range, for later on. So we had that done. And the chief agreed on that. He wasn't reluctant at all, and that's one good thing about it. Had we had a very stubborn chief of police, it would have been more difficult. There would have had to be greater protest and for a longer period of time. The protest didn't last that long. Things were beginning to move in the direction that the committee felt would be helpful. The chief then was looking for something that would help him. So it would help both parties.













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