Police play an indispensable role in our society. But the responsibility for keeping them accountable may lay with us, the people.
In June 2013, documents leaked by Edward Snowden sparked widespread debate about secret government surveillance of Americans. Just over a year later, the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, set off protests and triggered concern about militarization of law enforcement and discriminatory policing.
In his new book, Unwarranted, Barry Friedman argues that these two seemingly disparate events are connected—by the failure of policing, from local officers to the FBI and NSA, to be accountable to the public. In recent decades, policing has changed dramatically. Technologies like CCTV and predictive policing software have made suspects of us all, while proliferating SWAT teams and militarized forces have put property and lives at risk—particularly for communities of color and the poor. The effects beg a critical realization for all of us: it's not a question of what the police should do, but what we want the police to do.
On April 26, New America NYC hosted a conversation with Barry Friedman, Sherrilyn Ifill, and Trymaine Lee on the contemporary debates about policing—and the call to better govern those who govern us.
PARTICIPANTSBarry Friedman @barryfriedman1
Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law and Director, Policing Project, NYU School of Law
Author, Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission
Sherrilyn Ifill @Sifill_LDF
President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Trymaine Lee @trymainelee
National Reporter, MSNBC and NBC News
2016 Emerson Fellow, New America