Police brutality is the excessive use of force by law enforcement personnel in their encounters with civilians. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, use of force describes the "amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject." Police brutality occurs when the use of force is unwarranted or exceeds what is appropriate for gaining compliance. Some incidents of police brutality involve the use of a weapon such as a baton, Taser, or gun. The use of tear gas, nerve gas, pepper spray, or rubber bullets to disperse groups of people gathered in a peaceful assembly is also considered police brutality. Read more...
Suggest a Resource
This guide is a work in progress and will be updated periodically based on community suggestions, as new resources become available, and as we identify relevant resources.
Revelations about US policies and practices of torture and abuse have captured headlines ever since the breaking of the Abu Graib prison story in April 2004. It is within this context that African-American intellectual Angela Davis gave a series of interviews to discuss resistance and law, institutional sexual coercion, politics and prison. She talks about her own incarceration as well as her experience as 'enemy of the state' and about having been put on the FBI's most wanted list. Davis returns to her critique of a democracy that has been compromised by its racist origins.
Not a Mason student? Find a copy through your local public library.
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that , although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. By targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control.
Police use of force has been a major concern for police departments and citizens in the United States since the 1840s, when police first started carrying guns. Starting with a historical introduction, "Police Use of Force" presents readers with critical and timely issues facing police and the communities they serve when police encounters turn violent. Dr. Palmiotto offers in-depth coverage of the use of force, deadly force, non-lethal weapons, militarization of policing, racism and profiling, legal cases, psychology, perception and training, and violence prevention. Essential reading for both criminal justice professionals and academics, this text places police conflict within a complex, modern context, inviting cogent conversation in the classroom and the precinct.
How the rise of the car, the symbol of American personal freedom, inadvertently led to ever more intrusive policing?with disastrous consequences for racial equality in our criminal justice system. When Americans think of freedom, they often picture the open road. Yet nowhere are we more likely to encounter the long arm of the law than in our cars. Sarah Seo reveals how the rise of the automobile led us to accept?and expect?pervasive police power. As Policing the Open Road makes clear, this radical transformation in the nature and meaning of American freedom has had far-reaching political and legal consequences. Before the twentieth century, most Americans rarely came into contact with police officers. But with more and more drivers behind the wheel, police departments rapidly expanded their forces and increased officers' authority to stop citizens who violated traffic laws. Seo overturns prevailing interpretations of the Warren Court's due process revolution. The justices' efforts to protect Americans did more to accommodate than to limit police intervention, and the new criminal procedures inadvertently sanctioned discrimination by officers of the law. Constitutional challenges to traffic stops largely failed, and motorists ?driving while black? had little recourse to question police demands. Seo shows how procedures designed to safeguard us on the road ultimately undermined the nation's commitment to equal protection before the law.
Sworn to protect and serve,police officers who stray into deviant behavior may become a citizen's worst nightmare. A thoughtful examination of the formal and informal process of becoming blue,Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Badis a unique combination of academic research based on Chief Scott Silverii's doctoral dissertation and more than two decades in law enforcement. The book seeks to answer the ultimate question: why do good cops become bad cops? Demonstrating the highly seductive and overwhelmingly influential culture of policing, the book presents interviews and observations by officers from across the country that explore how individuals may devolve into an aberrant subcultural fraternity. Chief Silverii explains the damaging effects upon the officers' personal lives as they segregate from social and moral anchors and attach themselves to a lifestyle that may eventually bump up to criminality. Against the backdrop of the principles for organizational theory, acculturation, occupational socialization, and group culture, practical examples from real-life officers explain abstract ideals such as the "thin blue line" and the "code of silence."
In fifty years of prosecuting and defending criminal cases in New York City and elsewhere,Michael F. Armstrong has often dealt with cops. For a single two-year span, as chief counsel to the Knapp Commission, he was charged with investigating them. Based on Armstrong's vivid recollections of this watershed moment in law enforcement accountability-prompted by the New York Times's report on whistleblower cop Frank Serpico-They Wished They Were Honest recreates the dramatic struggles and significance of the Commission and explores the factors that led to its success and the restoration of the NYPD's public image. Serpico's charges against the NYPD encouraged Mayor John Lindsay to appoint prominent attorney Whitman Knapp to chair a Citizen's Commission on police graft. Overcoming a number of organizational, budgetary, and political hurdles, Chief Counsel Armstrong cobbled together an investigative group of a half-dozen lawyers and a dozen agents. Just when funding was about to run out, the "blue wall of silence" collapsed. A flamboyant "Madame," a corrupt lawyer, and a weasely informant led to a "super thief" cop, who was trapped and "turned" by the Commission. This led to sensational and revelatory hearings, which publicly refuted the notion that departmental corruption was limited to only a "few rotten apples."
After his 2014 expose about his experiences as a prison guard in a Lousisiana for-profit prison, Shane Bauer soon realised the cruelty of the current American system and its place in the larger story of mass incarceration cannot be understood without first understanding its origins. In American Prison, Bauer weaves together a deeper reckoning of his prison guard experience with a thorough history of for-profit prisons in America. A blistering accusation of the private prison system in the United States, American Prison is a necessary human document about the true face of justice.