Confronting the Carceral State

In August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was killed by a white police officer. The young man’s body lay for hours at mid-day on a residential street, with multiple gun shot wounds to his head, chest, and arm. In the months that followed, police choked Eric Garner to death on a sidewalk in […]

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The System Is Working the Way It Is Supposed to: The Limits of Criminal Justice Reform

Ferguson has come to symbolize a widespread sense that there is a crisis in American criminal justice. This Article describes various articulations of what the problems are and poses the question of whether law is capable of fixing these problems. I consider the question theoretically by looking at claims that critical race theorists have made […]

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Blue-on-Black Violence: A Provisional Model of Some of the Causes

This Article offers a theoretical model that explains the persistence of what I will call “blue-on-black violence.” Six features comprise the model. First, a variety of social forces converge to make African-Americans vulnerable to ongoing police surveillance and contact. Second, the frequency of this surveillance and contact exposes African-Americans to the possibility of police violence. […]

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Critical Perspectives on Police, Policing, and Mass Incarceration

Public clamor over police–community relations began in the mid-1990s and has now started to reach fever pitch. It is unlikely to subside soon for a number of reasons. The minority community is concerned about the large number of its youth who end up in the criminal justice system, often for minor offenses such as possession […]

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Beyond Body Cameras: Defending a Robust Right to Record the Police

This symposium Article articulates and defends a robust First Amendment right to record the police up to the point that the act of filming presents a concrete, physical impediment to a police officer or public safety. To the extent that courts have identified the constitutional values behind the right to record, they have, for the […]

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Body Cameras and Criminal Discovery

As police departments nationwide operate under increasing public scrutiny following numerous high-profile instances of excessive and often lethal force against unarmed African-Americans and Latinos, calls for greater accountability have been nearly unanimous in supporting the use of Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) by police officers. . . . Although witness safety concerns may justify some limitations on […]

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