Policing the Police Winter 2023

Class Details

Recent high-profile killings of civilians by the police, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, have led to increased public scrutiny of law enforcement. Police departments are also facing unprecedented challenges in hiring and keeping officers. In this course, we will study the potential avenues for changing how police operate and the systemic issues that impede reform by using films, articles, case law, and guest lectures. We will begin by looking at the historical responses to police misconduct, including internal affairs investigations and criminal prosecution of individual officers. We will also analyze the affirmative privileges provided to the police and the impact of these procedural protections on accountability. We will then explore current appeals for structural reform by examining recent federal investigations of police departments, including Newark, NJ and Ferguson, MO. Class will meet twice per week, and students will choose an aspect of the issues engaged with as a subject for their final research paper.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 15
Expected: NA
Class#: 1190
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 10-page paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores and juniors
Unit Notes: Samantha Soto is a civil rights and employment attorney whose practice includes advising police departments on discipline of officers and conducting investigations into discrimination claims. She is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia Law School.
Attributes: STUX Winter Study Student Exploration

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