George Floyd Before George Floyd: APB Speaker David Epstein on David Cornelius Smith and What His Death Can Teach Us About Police Accountability
05 Jun 2020
New York Times bestselling author and APB speaker David Epstein highlights the murder of a black man in his recent “Range Report,” where he interviews his brother Daniel. This murder took place in Minneapolis when a black man died after police officers pinned him down with their knees for several minutes until he stopped breathing. No, not George Floyd – his name was David Cornelius Smith and this happened in 2010.
Smith happened to be a 28-year-old black man who was mentally ill and experiencing homelessness. While playing basketball he behaved strangely, which alarmed patrons and staff. Police showed up and asked him to leave. When he refused, officers tased him several times, wrestled him to the ground and knelt on his back until they realized, four minutes later, that he was no longer breathing.
Epstein says, “I’m reminded of the concept of ‘wicked learning environments,’ in which individuals or organizations repeatedly fail to improve with experience because there is no system that forces them to recognize and learn from mistakes.” David Epstein speaks passionately on everything from education to healthcare to big data, while always delivering big-picture, performance-improving takeaways for audiences.
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