Special podcast guests share unique views on race, police issues

Three American Legion members with unique experiences and perspectives related to law enforcement and the debate over race join the Tango Alpha Lima podcast for a special two-part episode.

Legionnaires Autrey James, Hugh Crooks and Sean Powers join our podcast co-hosts for a frank, honest and intriguing discussion about racial disparity, the war on drugs and more.

James, a member of Post 161 in Antioch, Calif., is a Coast Guard veteran.

“It is unfortunate that in 2020 we are still having this conversation to be quite honest,” said James, an African-American, who served as a law enforcement officer for 20 years, and is now a deputy district attorney for Alameda County. “It’s something I wish that we had been able to get past and get resolved many years ago and that is unfortunate. It is also unfortunate that there are folks who are using the opportunity brought out by this discussion to burn and loot. That is unacceptable in my opinion.”

Another guest is Crooks, a former NECman from the Department of California. After his Army service, Crooks, an African-American served as a police officer for nearly 30 years including during the riots in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict.

“I was traumatized by being there because I thought I was back in Vietnam again,” he said. “I saw fires, blacks and whites running all over the place. I saw helicopters. The only thing I didn’t see were planes strafing buildings.”

Powers, a member of 9-11 Memorial Post 2001 in New York City, was a helicopter pilot in the Army. Powers recalls being nicknamed “Token White Guy” when he was the only white officer in a plainclothes unit that frequently worked in Harlem and other black communities around New York City.

The two-part series (Part 1 and Part 2) is available now for downloading and listening, or watching on YouTube. On that page, you can also learn more about the podcast, meet the co-hosts and find links to all previous episodes in both audio and video formats.

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