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policing



  • Let Us Drink in Public

    Many modern open container laws derive from previous “public drunkenness” and “vagrancy” ordinances that criminalized not just alcoholism, but also poverty and homelessness.



  • The Police Lie. All the Time. Can Anything Stop Them?

    A 1961 Supreme Court ruling establishing the Exclusionary Rule--that evidence obtained illegally is inadmissible in trial--spurred a host of police practices to circumvent the rule, most involving lying in reports about the circumstances of a search or arrest.



  • The Hidden Faces of Apartheid (Review)

    A new book documents the way that the South African security forces targeted percevied opponents of apartheid for extrajudicial killing. 



  • Homeland Security Was Destined to Become a Secret Police Force

    by Masha Gessen

    On behalf of the D.H.S. and its uniformed services, Director Chad Wolf claimed responsibility for the armed presence in Portland. He asserted that his agency was doing exactly what it was created to do. He was right.



  • Federal Agents in Portland Set a Dangerous Precedent

    by Tom Mockaitis

    The sight of armed men in combat fatigues without name tags driving around in unmarked vehicles to detain protestors might have been expected in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, or the Latin American dictatorships of the 1970s. Such tactics have no place on the streets of an American city in 2020.



  • Trump Has Brought America’s Dirty Wars Home

    by Stuart Schrader

    The history of the Office of Public Safety, created to support counterinsurgency around the globe during the Cold War, demonstrates that Trump’s ardor for authoritarian force has long-standing, homegrown roots.



  • The Best Histories of U.S. Policing, According to Experts

    A panel of experts including historians Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Simon Balto, Max Felker-Kantor, Carl Suddler, Stuart Schrader and Melanie Newport assemble a reading list for understanding policing and its relationship to racism and social class in the US. 



  • What Defunding the Police can Mean for U.S. Foreign Policy

    by Stuart Schrader

    To start this process will require looking inward, but it will be impossible without looking outward as well — by rethinking the U.S. role in the world, shrinking the Department of Defense’s massive footprint, and redirecting its resources and legitimacy toward more peaceful streets.


  • The Slow Path to Police Reform in Northern Ireland

    by Donald M. Beaudette and Laura Weinstein

    It took deep reforms and patience to build trust in policing across the sectarian divide of Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Accords. Does that process have lessons for the United States? 



  • Abolition or Bust: Liberal Police Reform as an Engine of Carceral Violence

    by Charlotte Rosen

    Recent work by scholars including Naomi Murakawa, Jodi Melamed, Elizabeth Hinton, Marisol LeBrón, Simon Balto, Max Felker-Kantor and Alex Vitale show that liberal reforms to policing fail to solve serious problems and reinforce the power and reach of police departments to the detriment of the disadvantaged.



  • Don’t Be Fooled by Seattle’s Police-Free Zone

    by Margaret O'Mara

    Protest is forcing our city to reckon with truths that can and should make white citizens like me uncomfortable, and that remind us just how much Seattle is like the rest of America: impossibly divided, and impossibly full of hope.



  • What ‘Less Lethal’ Weapons Actually Do

    Policing historian Stuart Schrader explains the military roots of many less-lethal police crowd-control weapons and the connections between military occupation and contemporary policing. 



  • Why America’s Institutions Are Failing

    Two major parts of American institutional life--law enforcement and the regulatory state--have failed spectaculary as the culmination of long-term historical trends.