Policing in America

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM: On Behalf of the Community

August 16th, 2017

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM:  On Behalf of the Community

By Eric J. Miller* The development of the institutional approach to policing, and procedure more generally, is one of the most exciting features of criminal procedure over the past decade. More accurately, there are a series of institutional approaches—doctrinal, philosophical, sociological, empirical—that all claim that there is independent value in regulating the police, separate from the additional value of protecting suspects’ rights.

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM: Rafa Esparza’s Red Summer

August 16th, 2017

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM:  Rafa Esparza’s Red Summer

Yxta Maya Murray* This essay analyzes the contributions that performance artist Rafa Esparza’s 2016 performance art piece  Red Summer offers to legal analyses of police brutality and police killings of people of color.  Building on the Demosprudence jurisprudence of Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres, as well as the author’s study of “artifacts” (that is, artwork that creates meaning of legal significance), the author considers how Esparza’s invocation of grief and anguish combats official disdain of anti-police brutality social movements and etiolated legal responses to police killings. On Saturday, August 13, 2016, from dawn to dusk, performance artist Rafa Esparza carved weapons out of dead trees in a small clearing of Los Angeles’s Elysian Park.  His piece, commissioned by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles for its Made in L.A. biennial exhibition,[1] was titled  RED SUMMER, freedom is an endless meeting.  And I don’t miss your heat.  But here we are […]

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM: American Policing in the Post-Ferguson Era

August 16th, 2017

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM:  American Policing in the Post-Ferguson Era

By Justin Nix* American policing is currently in the midst of a legitimacy crisis, fueled primarily by numerous highly publicized fatal shootings of black citizens over the last two and a half years.[1] Arguably the most consequential was the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. This incident sparked protests throughout the United States and fueled the growth of the Black Lives Matter Movement and Campaign Zero, which have helped raise awareness about police use of force.[2] Since Ferguson, many claims have been made about crime, policing in general, and police use of force – particularly against minorities. I outline and discuss some of the more prominent claims below, and comment on the need for better official data, which would provide for a more informed national dialogue on police use of force. I conclude by reviewing some promising avenues for police training moving forward.

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM: We Need to Talk About Police Disciplinary Records

August 7th, 2017

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM:  We Need to Talk About Police Disciplinary Records

By Kate Levine* In March 2017, an employee of New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board leaked the disciplinary record of Daniel Pantaleo to the media.[1] Pantaleo, the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death in the video[2] that went public and horrified many citizens, is under federal investigation[3] after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict him for Garner’s death.[4] Legal Aid Society attorneys had unsuccessfully sought the release of his records in the courts for years.[5] The leak of his records is the public face of an important but rarely discussed issue facing police, legislators, judges, lawyers, and scholars who care both about transparency for public servants and privacy for individual citizens: how and when police should be forced to make their disciplinary records public.

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM: Introductory Notes on Investigating the Legitimacy of Police Power and Accountability

August 7th, 2017

THE POLICING IN AMERICA SYMPOSIUM:  Introductory Notes on Investigating the Legitimacy of Police Power and Accountability

By Frank Kearl In March of 2015 the U.S. Department of Justice released its report on the Ferguson Police Department.  In the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, the DOJ spent six months interviewing the city’s police force, reviewing tens of thousands of pages of police records and emails, participating in ride-alongs, and working with statistical experts to analyze data on stops, searches, citations, and arrests.[1]  Their report concluded that the Ferguson Police Department aggressively enforced the city’s municipal code with “insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote[d] public safety or unnecessarily undermine[d] community trust and cooperation.”[2]