Policing and Race: The Debate Over Excessive Use of Force Reviews

Policing and Race: The Debate Over Excessive Use of Force: ISBN 978-1-6782-0044-2 / eBook: 978-1-6782-0045-9
Kirkus Reviews, Feb 15, 2021

The role of racial discrimination in policing is a critical topic in U.S. society.
Incidents such as the May 2020 death of George Floyd while in police custody increased the intensity of feelings but was part of a “long and ugly history of violent encounters between law enforcement officers and Americans of color, particularly Black Americans.” How and when police officers use excessive force, as well as what that constitutes, varies; there is no actual legal definition, one of the factors that makes seeking justice difficult. Another concern is the increased militarization of the police, which has a particular impact on communities of color. Gallagher explores the role of cameras, both civilian and police, as well as activism, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. The challenge of instituting accountability and visible efforts for reform are presented. Calls to defund the police are defined and explored in one chapter with recognition that no easy solutions exist. This journalistic approach does a good job of presenting the basics of an important issue. The book includes data on the views of Black Americans about policing (Native and Latinx Americans, who are also disproportionately affected by police killings, are mentioned in passing). It would have been helpful to include information on the views of police about the communities they serve.
A solid introduction for readers seeking a broad outline of the subject. (source notes, organizations and websites, further research, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)