In his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, President Biden called on lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Police Justice Act, saying, “We have to collaborate to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people who serve them, systemic racism in our criminal justice system.”
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This week, following Derek Chauvin Verdict, in Minneapolis, we bring you a selection of pieces on the history of race and police in America. In his book “How Police Unions Fight Reform,” William Finnegan writes about the troubling powers of the NYPD unions. In his book Seized in New York, writer and novelist Daryl Pinkney recounts his arrest on a minor drug charge in the Lower East Side. (“The prison would have raised my fear of saying the obvious, because there was no way to ignore the fact that everyone in the cell was either black or Hispanic.”) In “How a lethal police force ruled a city,” Shane Bauer examines the failure to hold the officers accountable. In Vallejo, California, cops are responsible for a higher murder rate than all but one of the nation’s 100 largest police forces. Finally, in “Invention of the Police,” Jill Lepore explores the evolution of modern urban policing and its relationship to American racism. (“To say that many good and wonderful people are loyal and courageous police officers and civil servants, which is true of course, means failure to address both the nature and scale of the crisis and the legacy of centuries of racial injustice.”) These pieces offer a changing and insightful view of the central crisis in American life.
Why did the US police become so big and fast? Basically the answer is slavery.
Walking at night leads to trouble.
Activists insist that police stations must change. For half a century, the New York City PBA system successfully resisted such demands.
After years of impunity, police in Vallejo, California have taken control of politics in the city and threatened its people.