Policing the Police Winter 2022

Class Details

Public scrutiny of police activity has intensified in the wake of the high-profile killing of George Floyd. Attacks on law enforcement have also received much publicity. In this course, we will analyze current doctrines addressing police misconduct and potential avenues for future reform by using case law, articles, and films. We will begin by looking at the historical responses to police misconduct, including internal affairs investigations, private civil lawsuits, and criminal prosecution of individual officers. We will also examine the affirmative privileges provided to law enforcement, 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 Oakland, CA 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
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.
Materials/Lab Fee: $15

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