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Special Project

Power over Policing

As Minneapolis agrees to disband its police force and Denver votes unanimously to remove police from its public schools, 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.

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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.

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 Vitale Scott Casleton

In this interview, sociologist Alex Vitale explains how the policing crisis in the United States begins with politics—the decision to embrace neoliberal austerity and to turn the social problems it creates over to police.

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Alex Reinert

We need not wait for Congress or the Supreme Court to deny police officers qualified immunity when they violate constitutional rights. State attorneys general and city law departments can—and should—lead the charge themselves.

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Joanna Schwartz Kate Levine

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.

Atiya Husain abolition terrorism counterterrorism
Atiya Husain

At a moment when the call to abolish police and prisons is louder than ever, we should also demand an end to counterterrorism, which functions largely to ensnare people of color.

Dan Berger Jalil Muntaqim Black Panthers incarceration
Dan Berger

Jalil Muntaqim, a Black Panther imprisoned since 1971, is one of thousands of elderly prisoners the United States has refused to free during the pandemic.

Garrett Felber Bayard Bustin police abolition
Garrett Felber

Prison and police abolition were key to the thinking of many midcentury civil rights activists. Understanding why can help us ask for change in our own time.

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