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Special Project

Power over Policing

Police abolition has entered the public consciousness with full force and considerable support.

Alongside select archival essays, this special project features lawyers, activists, historians and more responding to the demands of the 2020 uprisings. They not only boldly imagine an abolitionist future without police and prisons, but outline the steps needed to get us there.

Anne Gray Fischer police sexual assault
Anne Gray Fischer

Forms of gender-specific violence are baked into the structure of law enforcement. Reform efforts will fail until we eliminate police discretion over women’s bodies.

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Joseph Margulies

In many states, legal regimes sanction the predictable murder of innocent black men. Justice will not be served until the law changes.

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Scott Casleton Alex Vitale

Sociologist Alex Vitale explains how the U.S. policing crisis begins with politics—the decision to embrace neoliberal austerity and to turn the social problems it creates over to police.

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Matthew Clair

Success in transforming the criminal justice system will depend on convincing judges to shift how they relate to—and rely upon—police in their criminal courtrooms.

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Lisa Cacho Jodi Melamed

We must reject the current legal regime under which resisting arrest is so widely accepted as a justification for police brutality and officer shootings.

Andrew Lanham Stuart Schrader Badges Without Borders Police Tear Gas
Andrew Lanham

Since World War II, the United States has spread its style of policing—and police technology—around the world as a way to exert control. This link between modern policing and the national security state means they will have to be democratized together.

Lydia Pelot-Hobbs police abolition New Orleans NOPD
Lydia Pelot-Hobbs

As post-Katrina New Orleans illustrates, even ambitious attempts to reform police leave intact the structures of racial violence. Worse yet, such efforts drain public money that could instead have been invested in caring for communities.

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Alex Reinert

We need not wait for Congress or the Supreme Court. State attorneys general and city law departments can—and should—lead the charge themselves.

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Kate Levine Joanna Schwartz

In order to achieve lasting change, we must focus on systemic problems across the criminal justice system. That includes holding prosecutors accountable, not just police.

Joseph Fischel NOPD Pride rainbow badge LGBT
Joseph J. Fischel

Pride festivities attempt every year to reinforce the idea of an LGBT community, but when it comes to views on policing, white gay men and trans women of color often have little in common.

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