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On Thursday, DeKalb Country Police Chief Cedric Alexander joined “Piers Morgan Live” to weigh in on the close call that could have devastated his community and the success of the “booker hero” Antoinette Tuff.
“I think there's something to be learned certainly from the actions that she took that day,” Alexander told Piers, referring to the tactful way in which Tuff convinced 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill to surrender his AK-47 and submit to the police. “What came across very clear to all of us, she was calm. She maintained her composure. She stayed focused on him. She was able to empathize with where he was at this particular moment and time in his life and she also shared some of her own experiences, as well.”
“It created an environment for him where he begin to feel safe,” Alexander continued, “it calmed him down, and it also probably ... kept her very calm as well, too. Because also if you remember from one part of her tape, she even states that inside I was certainly very frightened of what was going on, paraphrasing what she's stating but she was clearly very frightened here. But her being able to connect with him was crucial. It saved lives and she's really just an extraordinary individual.”
The Oklahoma town of Duncan is coming to grips with the thrill-killing of 23-year-old Christopher Lane. But the tragedy has reignited national conversation over the role of race in both the crime and the media’s coverage of it. On Thursday, Piers Morgan hosted a lively debate on the issue between CNN contributor Ben Ferguson and "The New York Times" columnist and CNN political commentator Charles Blow where arguments were drawn from the George Zimmerman trial.
“What this particular case shows us is how the system of justice is actually supposed to work and how people thought that it would have worked in the Trayvon Martin case, as well,” Blow argued. “That something really horrible happens, and we figure out who did it, and we immediately take those people into custody, and we've - on Tuesday they had a charge. I mean, you set a court date and you say that we're going to let the justice system figure out what the facts are. That is not what happened in the Trayvon Martin case.”
Blows conclusion? “If the Trayvon Martin situation had actually happened in the same way that this case happened, you would have had no outrage.”
But Ferguson prescribed more significance to the backlash that Zimmerman confronted after having been fairly tried, critiquing Blow’s argument as hypocritical:
“If you look at the differences in these two cases and this is where you're having a very selective memory because you think George Zimmerman is guilty still even though a jury of his peers found him innocent and you still don't want to treat him as a free, innocent man now ... You didn't like the police and how they investigated it. You didn't like the outcome they didn't charge him with a crime and so therefore you decided that as an American who wasn't there that night, who didn't investigate it, that you would be against George Zimmerman, even though there was, in fact, people that were doing their job. You just didn't like how they did their job.”
But the truth remains, unless you were at the scene of the crime, you can only speculate.
The stories of gun violence that flooded the headlines this week provided one more concern for teachers and parents as a new school year approaches. Debates over arming teachers have been in full force since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary last December with very opinionated voices on both sides. “Piers Morgan Live” hosted Dr. Brian Bolden, the principal of the McNair Discovery Learning Academy who, with help, prevented a potential catastrophe at his school on Tuesday, to discuss the heated issue.
Bolden referred to Tuesday’s events as an example of why professionals like DeKalb Country Police Chief Cedric Alexander should be left with the responsibility to serve and protect:
“When I saw the look of intensity in his eyes, I knew that we were in the best possible hands. His staff, they were so well-poised and trained and it took the - you know, the strain off of me as the leader of that school that I could relinquish the authority to him and his team was just exceptional…With leaders like this in place, I think that we're in pretty good hands.”