Md. Gov. Wes Moore: ‘A Greater Level of Diversification Within the Police Force – That’s Not the Answer’

( – Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that in cases like the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn., “the variable of who the law enforcement officer is” could change, but “the color of the victim” doesn’t change.

Moore said that the video “is horrific,” and I say that as not only the state’s governor and the only black governor in this country, but as a human being.”

The level of barbarism that they showed, that these individuals showed to Mr. Nichols is just, it’s beyond comprehension. The fact is, you know, we would be — we would be outraged if that was anybody, but the people who did it to him were people whose job it was to protect him.

And so, you know, it goes to show that, you know, the culture that we’re still — that we still have to unearth and that we have to address, that it is about how exactly are we making sure that we are getting the right people in these seats with the right reforms? 

It’s one of the reasons why, in our budget, you know, we actually released a $122 million for local law enforcement with a specific focus on things like recruitment and retaining good officers and what does training look like, but also, we’ve got to address some of the laws still. As Dr. King said, laws don’t change the heart, but they protect me from the heartless. 

So we have to be able to address things like how we think about reform for the justification for policing stops and for traffic stops. What is the attorney general’s right to be able to prosecute and intervene? 

So I’m thankful that we have a department here that did move quickly, and that we have the Department of Justice that’s involved in this, but it’s just another very unneeded reminder about the kind of reforms that we still have to see to create that level of support and trust within community and law enforcement. 

Moore agreed with Rev. Al Sharpton that just adding blacks to the police force and having diversity is not enough when dealing with policing and what the laws are, because Nichols was black, and so are the five police officers charged with his death.

Reverend Al, you’re absolutely right, and I think that that’s why I would caution anyone to simply say, well, the answer to this is we need a greater level of diversification within the police force. That’s not the answer. 

The thing we continue to see is that you can have the variable of who the law enforcement officer is. That could change. 

The challenge is the thing that’s not changing is oftentimes, the color of the victim in these type of cases, in these type of crimes, and so the thing that we have to make sure is that, as we’re having law enforcement who are doing really important and necessary work, you have to have those levels of support. 

We also have to understand that the training that comes in, the cultural training that comes in, that we have laws that are appropriate and that the training is actually helping people and preparing people for the situations that they’re going to encounter once they’re on the job. 


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