Why DC Police Are Studying Critical Race Theory


Two to three days a week, Sharita Thompson and Bernie Demczuk explore the entirety of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture with about 30 DC police officers. The museum lets them in at 6 AM, and they’re usually done at about 3 in the afternoon. 

The visit is a new mandatory course for DC’s 3,800 sworn officers, but Demczuk says they’re not trying to teach cops how to do their jobs: “What we said in the very beginning is, we know nothing about policing, but what we’re gonna do is teach you history. That’s what relaxes everybody.”

The professors, who both teach at University of the District of Columbia Community College (Demczuk is also the official historian for Ben’s Chili Bowl), start at the lower levels of the museum, with history…

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