Skip to content Skip to navigation


What we’re reading on policing

Photo: / AFSC

As racist police violence in the United States continues unabated, including the high-profile killings of Alfred Olango in El Cajon, Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, and Keith Scott in Charlotte, we take a look at some of the recent writings on policing.

How police hide use of force incidents from the public, by Carimah Townes via Think Progress
“Scott’s death is the latest in a string of publicized police killings of Black people that have fueled a growing national debate regarding systemic discrimination in police departments’ treatment of the Black community. Over the past several years, the public and activists have demanded for police to wear and use cameras to give more objective accounts of these deadly encounters. But Scott’s case highlights the fallibility of police procedure in terms of how and if a video of a fatal encounter is captured or released.”

 Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget, by Joel Handley, Jennifer Helsby, and Freddy Martinez via the Chicago Reader

“The amount of money seized from any given individual is, by itself, negligible to police and prosecutors' budgets—the median value of a forfeiture in Illinois is $530, according to the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit Libertarian public-interest law firm. But losing this sum of money or access to a vehicle can be devastating to the impoverished people civil forfeiture often affects. And in Chicago the millions of dollars accumulated through so many individual seizures don't go toward public services like schools or roads, but are used to fund the operations of the police division that carries out civil forfeiture.”

 Keith Lamont Scott’s Disability May Have Gotten Him Killed, And He’s Not The Only One, by Claudia Center via Huffington Post

“A recent widely cited report on the issue estimates that up to one half of all use of force incidents involve individuals with disabilities, noting that “[d]isability is the missing word in media coverage of police misuse of force.” People with mental disabilities, especially people of color, are particularly at risk of being shot or beaten by the police.” 

 Black Lives Matter Founder on Charlotte: We Need 'Police-Free Communities, by Andrew White via Complex

“’Ultimately, policing in and of itself is problematic,’ Garza says. ‘I know that in this country we give a lot of veneration to police. In the ethos of this country, police can do no wrong. And if and when police do wrong, it’s a case of individual bad apples, as opposed to a corroded and corrupt system. ... Quite frankly, many of our [Black Lives Matter] members are continuing to investigate what it would mean to have police-free communities. I think what we've continued to see over time is that no moral appeal is actually stopping the deaths of Black people, whether they be armed or unarmed.’”