A woman speaking on the phone

Calling the Police, without Trusting the Police

A scholar finds nuanced reasoning among poor Black women facing difficult choices about whether to call the cops.

Is Hiring More Black Officers the Key to Reducing Police Violence?

Diversity among officers lags behind the general population. But is police culture a greater problem when it comes to combating excessive force?
Smoke billowing over Tulsa, Oklahoma during 1921 race riots

Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus

How can we help students understand George Floyd's death in the context of institutionalized racism?
Cartoon showing police brutality against the match makers' demonstration, 1871

The Origins of the Police

Sir Robert Peel is popularly credited with the formation of the first modern municipal police force. But the Thames River Police did it first.
Demonstrating the administration of the polygraph, the polygrapher making notes on the readouts.

The Online Lie Detector Is No Better Than the Polygraph

People love the idea of a machine that tells us who to trust. But the historical analog of the online lie detector also didn't work.
1800s Chicago police

A History of Police Violence in Chicago

At the turn of the century, Chicago police killed 307 people, one in eighteen homicides in the city—three times the body count of local gangsters.
Rodney King video

Why Didn’t the Rodney King Video Lead to a Conviction?

The grainy pictures speak for themselves. Or so thought many Americans who watched the video of the March 3rd, 1991, beating of motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.
James Baldwin

Why James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time Still Matters

For James Baldwin (1924-1987), the fundamental premises of American society needed revisiting. How we might view #BlackLivesMatter through his lens.
Philando Castile shooting video

Viral Black Death: Why We Must Watch Citizen Videos of Police Violence

We should acknowledge and absorb the pain captured in videos of police violence, just as antiracist activists bore witness in the past to lynchings.
19th century police

The Birth of the “Policed Society”

Over the course of the nineteenth century policing became increasingly professionalized.