Last year’s protests over the police killings of George Floyd refocused the nation’s attention on the problem of abusive policing and its connection to larger issues of racial justice. The protesters’ demands raise several questions: Can the police be reformed? Can defunding the police be a viable alternative to police reform? What would it mean for high crime communities that have had to rely on police as the only resource for addressing crime and disorder? Alex Vitale will answer these questions based on 30 years of experience in both studying policing and advising community-based movements for police reform. He’ll discuss the historical role of police and their relationship to contemporary policing, and he’ll look at the current movement to defund the police and the specific policy proposals it supports, including initiatives to reduce gun violence, fix schools, and deal with substance abuse and mental health crises.
“How Much Do We Need the Police?” by Alex S. Vitale
“How I Became a Police Abolitionist,” by Derecka Purnell
“Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police,” by Miriame Kaba
“A New World is Possible: Defund Police and Fund Black Lives,” by Kayla Reed and Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson