Exchange between Morris Dees and Jon Roland, 1999 Nov. 9
Morris Dees spoke to a crowd of several hundred persons in the Sacramento
Ballroom of California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) beginning at
19:30, Nov. 9, 1999. After his talk, he took questions, and one of them was
from Jon Roland.
ROLAND: There is one area of hatred and divisiveness which you haven't
really addressed today, and which I think deserves more attention, and that
is the growing polarization between law enforcement organizations and their
personnel, and the American people. We are seeing an increasing
militarization of law enforcement, increasing use of dynamic entries for
serving search and arrest warrants, too many mistakes that are not
corrected.... In other words, it's not enough to address hate crimes from
random individuals or small groups. The more dangerous forms it can take are
when they are perpetrated under color of law.
DEES: You have a question? I'll be glad to respond to your comment.
ROLAND: Well, I'd like to suggest that you devote more attention to these
kind of hate crimes, [and] the kind of hatred that infests our government
and our law enforcement organizations. [applause]
DEES: You make a good point. You make a good point. We have devoted quite a
bit of attention.... I've filed personally lawsuits against law enforcement
officers who are just over the line and who have admitted to what I would
consider a hate crime. I think the beating of Rodney King to be a hate
crime. I think the arresting of a person based on the fact that the color of
their skin is some[?] profile would be tantamount to a hate crime. But one
thing that it is important to note [is] that the great bulk of law
enforcement officers that I've been[?] in contact with around America are
not involved[?] in prejudice, in hate crimes. In fact, in the Deep South we
have a kind of a prejudice against southerners. The church burnings that
took place in the South, and around the country.... But if you look at those
church burnings where they caught the perpetrators, it wasn't the FBI or any
national law enforcement officers that broke[?] the case. I've had ... in
South Carolina, it was the Sheriff of Clarendon County, South Carolina, that
had the two young white klansmen in jail within 48 hours after the church
burning. There's no question that, that there are law enforcement officers
in this nation who are guilty of biases and prejudices and what I would
consider hate crimes. If I'm under[?] ... that we don't pay attention to
those.... We put on seminars all over the nation. I spoke to the California
Chief of Police [?!1] ... We're invited by the U.S. attorneys, and
prosecutors, and law enforcement officers all over the nation. We put on
seminars on hate crimes, and on ... and we intend on our web site we're
creating, called tolerance.org[?2], to have a special division[?], so that
police agencies can find the best practices of other police agencies that
have confronted the great issues that you're dealing with. You raised a good
point. Thank you.
 Needless to say, there is no "California Chief of Police". Presumably he
was thinking of the Chief of Police of some city in California.
 He said "tolerance.org", but this domain name belonged to someone else at the time. It was eventually, more than a year later, acquired and a site put up, by the Southern
Poverty Law Center web site http://www.splcenter.org .
Transcription by Jon Roland, who is responsible for any errors. Doubtful
words are followed by [?] above.
Comment: This carefully worded and timed question effectively won the support of the audience against abuses by law enforcement and diverted it from the intended targets of the speaker, exaggerated in scope and importance to help him raise money from gullible donors. The rest of his presentation was derailed by it.