Did you ever have your impartiality challenged? If so, how did you respond?


Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Once this report came out, what did that do to your relationship with the cops? Could you continue to work with them?

Answer:
Hey, the commission accepted it. I don't know if the LAPD had any ill feelings towards me personally, but they didn't have any ill feelings towards the agency. This is a report that was done. It wasn't saying that the LAPD is a racist so-and-so. It says the LAPD does racist things, or that some LAPD people do racist things. That's a hell of a lot different. So I think that deep down, they agree. I'm sure that the chief saw it that way and wished that it didn't happen, "But by golly, I'm a cop's cop and I'm going to go down with them." That's how he saw it.




Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Is your impartiality ever challenged?

Answer:
Oh yes.

Question:
And what did you do?

Answer:
I guess I'd try to ask them why they had drawn that conclusion because people have opinions and feelings, but I don't think it does any good to talk about feelings and opinions. I would ask, "what happened that has brought you to that opinion?" Maybe it was something that I said, something I did, other times there was some explanation and that helped clear the air. Sometimes it was just my being a representative of the Justice Department, I mean, there is no way I can rationalize things that the department did in a situation. I think one of the very interesting things that CRS struggled with was that CRS has always been kind of an aberration to the Justice Department. There would be positions the Justice Department would be taking, say school desegregation, or fair housing and I would work out an agreement in federal court and I had questions raised saying, "that's not a policy." I think that's being a mediator within a legal context you're helping parties reach agreements that may be extra legal, and as long as the courts say this is okay then that's the answer. On the other side you are the representative of the Justice Department and people who are involved and invested in issues know what the Justice Departments position is on particular issues. You get involved in the community and people know those positions. They'll have questions about what you're doing.

Question:
Did you ever find that you had to address the fairness of a settlement?

Answer:
No. To me, as long as the parties understood that somebody outside the agreement might say it's not fair and I can't, I don't go there.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did anybody accuse you directly saying, "Hey. You're not being impartial, you're favoring one side?"

Answer:
Not when I got out into the woods. Maybe somewhere in the city that might have happened, but no. Because most of the time I was not. I was impartial as hell. I had my feelings. Nothing you do is going to take away from that. You can't just take that away. See, that goes back to some people being concerned about, "Hey, you got a black guy coming into a black situation? You know he's not going to be impartial." That's because that's a reflection on themselves. Because they know they're dishonest. And they see you coming in, they figure you're going to cheat. I was always ready for that. When somebody started to say something and tried to catch my reaction, I would not give them eye contact. I would look off and look on the ceiling. You learn all of these dynamics because I came out of corrections and prisons and all of these places before I even came to CRS.







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