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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

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On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
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Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City

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Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A revelatory examination of the repeated cycles of police brutality and reform in New York City

Street Justice traces the stunning history of police brutality cases in New York and the antibrutality movements that sought to eradicate it. Examining police violence from the period just after the Civil War to the present—from clubbing to the third degree to the backroom torture of Abner Louima in 1997—Johnson shows that while it is not a static phenomenon, neither has there been the simple progression toward more professional, less violent police behavior that some would like to believe.

“Johnson . . . has taken on a formidable and sensitive subject and has largely conquered it, thanks to indefatigable research and a rigorous, unblinking analysis . . . a well-written, intelligent and at times even colorful examination of one of the perennial problems of urban life . . . an invaluable contribution to the histories both of New York and of American law enforcement in general.” —Kevin Baker, New York Times Book Review

“A masterfully crafted chronicle . . . The pages are sprinkled with fascinating episodes and anecdotes, uncovering the ‘story behind the story for such police practices as ‘the third degree and ‘sweatboxes.” —James Alan Fox, Boston Globe

“This fascinating, highly detailed historical survey, beginning with the NYPDs founding in 1845, reads like a true-crime page-turner . . . [Johnson] provides a sensitive and insightful look at the range of social, political and economic changes that have affected how police brutality has been repeatedly redefined.” —Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Street Justice traces the stunning history of police brutality in New York City, and the antibrutality movements that sought to eradicate it, from just after the Civil War through the present. New York's experience with police brutality dates back to the founding of the force and has shown itself in various forms ever since: From late-nineteenth-century "clubbing"-the routine bludgeoning of citizens by patrolmen with nightsticks-to the emergence of the "third degree," made notorious by gangster movies, from the violent mass-action policing of political dissidents during periods of social unrest, such as the 1930s and 1960s, to the tumultuous days following September 11.

Yet throughout this varied history, the victims of police violence have remained remarkably similar: they have been predominantly poor and working class, and more often than not they have been minorities. Johnson compellingly argues that the culture of policing will only be changed when enough sustained political pressure and farsighted thinking about law enforcement is brought to bear on the problem.

About the Author

Marilynn S. Johnson is associate professor of history at Boston College and the author of The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807050231
Author:
Johnson, Marilynn S.
Publisher:
Beacon Press (MA)
Location:
Boston
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement
Subject:
Violence in Society
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Middle Atlantic
Subject:
General History
Subject:
World History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
November 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
378
Dimensions:
8.95 x 5.9 x .9 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Enforcement and Investigation
History and Social Science » Sociology » Violence in Society
History and Social Science » World History » General

Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.75 In Stock
Product details 378 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807050231 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Street Justice traces the stunning history of police brutality in New York City, and the antibrutality movements that sought to eradicate it, from just after the Civil War through the present. New York's experience with police brutality dates back to the founding of the force and has shown itself in various forms ever since: From late-nineteenth-century "clubbing"-the routine bludgeoning of citizens by patrolmen with nightsticks-to the emergence of the "third degree," made notorious by gangster movies, from the violent mass-action policing of political dissidents during periods of social unrest, such as the 1930s and 1960s, to the tumultuous days following September 11.

Yet throughout this varied history, the victims of police violence have remained remarkably similar: they have been predominantly poor and working class, and more often than not they have been minorities. Johnson compellingly argues that the culture of policing will only be changed when enough sustained political pressure and farsighted thinking about law enforcement is brought to bear on the problem.

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