Smart Talk Tuesday: Lancaster protests; Philadelphia reporter arrested at protest; Poll shows public supports COVID-19 response; Counties want mental health funding

Protests continued across the country last night against police brutality and racial injustice in the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis last week.

In Lancaster, several members of the police department marched with the protesters Monday. Sunday’s demonstration in Lancaster was more heated as protesters screamed at police and several were arrested. Police used pepper spray to subdue a few protesters.

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace says “outside agitators” may have been behind Sunday’s testy standoff.

Lancaster City Council President Ismail Smith-Wade-El, who has been involved in the Lancaster community for years, appears on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss the protests and the issues raised by the Floyd incident.

Also on Tuesday’s program, WHYY radio reporter Avi Wolfman-Arent was arrested during a demonstration in Philadelphia on Sunday, even after clearly stating he was a journalist. He’s one of a growing number of media members who have been injured or arrested during the protests. Wolfman-Arent describes what happened on Tuesday’s show.

Smart Talk‘s coronavirus coverage on Tuesday includes results from the Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos nationwide poll that finds more Americans’ priorities are shifting towards the economy and away from health — compared to a poll in March — even though almost two-thirds of those polled say government’s priority should be preventing the virus from spreading. David Schleifer, Ph.D, Director of Research for Public Agenda, is on Smart Talk with details.

Finally, Pennsylvania counties say the need for more funding from the state for mental health treatment and support is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinton County Commissioner Jeff Snyder, President of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania joins us on Smart Talk.




Smart Talk Monday: Black people feel under siege after recent violent deaths and incidents

The death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck as Floyd said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe, has set off a wave of protests and outrage across the country. The anger has escalated into violence in Minneapolis over what protestors see is ongoing police brutality against African-Americans.

It’s not just incidents of police involvement either. A black jogger in Georgia was shot and killed in a struggle with a white man, who armed himself after he and his father thought the jogger could be a suspect in a string of burglaries. A white woman called the police saying she was being threatened by an African-American man, who was bird watching in New York’s Central Park. The man he had nothing more than telling the woman to follow the park’s rules and put her dog on a leash.

These three recent incidents have raised questions about racism and why black men especially are often the victims of violence — sometimes at the hands of the police and in American society as a whole.

It’s the topic of our discussion on Monday’s Smart Talk.

Appearing on the program is Sandra Thompson – a York area attorney and president of the York County chapter of the NAACP. Ms. Thompson was one of five African-American women playing golf at a York County course last year when the owner called the police after a dispute over slow play arose. Also on the program are Rev. Dr. Frank Hairston-Allen, President of the Harrisburg Area NAACP, Chief Dean Esserman, National Police Foundation Senior Counselor, and Dr. Todd Mealy, founder of the Equity Institute for Race Conscious Pedagogy, and the author of Race Conscious Pedagogy: Disrupting Racism at Majority White Schools.