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Winter 2021 Course

Policing the Police

Prerequisites: None

Exam: No Exam

Since the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, there has been an upsurge in attention paid to the regulation of police in the United States. Many feel that the legal system is deficient, indeed woefully deficient, in ways that it structures police-civilian interaction. I am particularly interested in police surveillance, stops, frisks, interrogation, arrests, the use of force, and policies facilitating (or thwarting) transparency and responsibility. The course will examine the problems that have given rise to demands for reform and assess reform proposals that have been posited, including what some describe as “abolition” of policing. The reading will be interdisciplinary, including caselaw, legislation, and work drawn from law reviews, criminology, sociology, and political science. I will endeavor to bring to class police officers. I will also endeavor to gain the participation of activists who have been involved in protest, law reform, and other modes of social change. Students who are interested in this class should feel free to send me ideas about topics to explore, readings to examine, and speakers to invite.