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1990 Vs. 2020: Police Accountability Then Vs. Now and What the Future Holds

Listen to Episode 2 on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudSpotify, Audible, and Podbean

Starting in Teaneck, New Jersey once again in this week’s episode, we explore the events leading up to the April 1990 shooting of a Black teenager by a white police officer. More than three decades later, the story is illustrative of America's current moment, demonstrating both the intractability of racial justice in America and the prospect that lasting change may now be possible. 

“The killing of Phillip Pannell in 1990 by a white police officer in Teaneck, New Jersey was an American tragedy that continues to resonate today,” said Mike Kelly, Author, COLOR LINES: The Troubled Dreams of Racial Harmony in an American Town, which The Washington Post called “American journalism at its best.”

In this episode, troubling questions are raised on “Why do these kinds of police killings continue? What changes need to be made?” Guest interviews discuss what happened in Teaneck 30 years ago and what has not yet changed even in the present day -- from law enforcement policies to police accountability and how hiring decisions are made. What could lead to significant and long-term change with the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is also discussed.

Featuring voiceover by the Emmy-winning Keith David, this limited series explores the American tragedy of race, police shootings and the search for justice. The series features firsthand accounts, insights, and perspectives from the most prominent voices in civil rights and police reform -- from U.S. Senator Cory Booker to Congresswoman Karen Bass to the Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights attorney DeWitt Lacy, activist Nupol Kiazolu and others.

In honor of the podcast episode’s discussion topic, listeners are encouraged to support The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). Learn more at

Visit the podcast website to listen to all episodes.


Time Stamps  

00:00 Introduction

01:00 Are police operating with accountability?

02:48 The danger of reactionary policing

04:00 Joanna C Schwartz discusses police accountability

06:22 Overcoming challenges in policing with Senator Cory Booker

11:54 Peter Harvey discusses the Phillip Pannell case

14:43 Anya Bidwell explains qualified immunity

17:29 What happens when warning signs are ignored

19:08 Dan Keashen on Camden’s community policing program

22:31 The difficulties of prosecuting police with Rachel Harmon

25:41 Peter Harvey on the failings of the legal system

32:33 Rev. Al Sharpton discusses how to protect the African-American community

34:37 Senator Cory Booker explains the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

41:38 The future of police accountability with Congresswoman Karen Bass

47:17 Time for police reform

49:28 Conclusion

Podcast Credits: Walter Richardson & Kathy Berardi (Producers), Keith David (Voiceover), Brittany Hanrahan (Host), D-Moet  (Sound Producer & Engineer, Music Composer & Editing), Mike Kelly (Story Editor), Anita McGee (Editor), Shannah Vanessa Braxton (Research & Story Editor), Spencer Baron (Editor), Marli Welgemoed (Marketing)

This podcast was recorded under a SAG-AFTRA Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

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