The director of community relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was recently caught on camera during a roundtable conversation on “Best Policing Practices” calling for police to stop arresting shoplifters at stores such as Walmart.
Everett D. Mitchell, who is also an attorney, pastor, and community leader, argues that because big box stores like Walmart and Target have insurance, police shouldn’t feel justified in engaging in “aggressive police practices” to stop them.
“I just don’t think that they should be prosecuting cases … for people who steal from Wal-Mart. I just don’t think that, right?” said Mitchell. “I don’t think Target or all them other places, them big box stores that have insurance, they should be using justification, the fact that people steal from there as justification to start engaging in aggressive police practices, right?”
Everett’s remarks were made Tuesday as part of a UW-Madison panel on the topic of “Best Policing Practices.” Everett argued that community police shouldn’t prioritize enforcing the law, but instead should focus on achieving “safety” as it is defined by a local community, even if that definition includes allowing some stores to be robbed with impunity.
“I go to these meetings and that’s what they throw up there on the table, ‘Look at where all this crime is happening, at the East Towne and the West Towne Mall, and the Wal-Marts and Targets, that’s where crime is happening, that’s why we have to focus so much’ … they do that all the time to justify why they’re going to over police our children.”
His argument seems to be that shoplifting is a legitimate way to redistribute the wealth of greedy corporations to the underprivileged. Unbelievable and depressing: