In a conversation about his new book, Talking with Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell talks with The New Yorker's Jelani Cobb about the Sandra Bland case and the problems with modern policing. Gladwell told Cobb:
"If you look at Brian Encinia’s history, he’s the cop in this case, his entire career as a police officer was about pulling people over for no particular reason in the hopes that he would find something serious, and he never does ...This is modern policing, he is doing exactly what he is trained to do, he was instructed to go out into Southeast Texas and stop everyone who even remotely raised a red flag, and just find out whether they’re up to no good ... he’s stopping her because he’s already formulated a delusional fantasy that she might be dangerous. And so he goes up to the window, and she's not even remotely dangerous. She's just come from a job interview at Purdue University. But he approaches her with this notion that, 'Oh my god, what if she's up to no good?' ... And my point is, making sense of a stranger is so hard that you cannot have a policing strategy that depends for its successful execution on requiring police offers to read a stranger in 30 seconds. That's just madness. That is an open invitation to having all kinds of social pathology between police officers and the people they stop, who, by the way, happen overwhelmingly to be people of color. For us to be doing this as an order of business in policing in 2019, it's just bananas."
Watch the full program.