Lecture 17-Police-community relations

Lecture 17-Police-community relations - Lecture 17...

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Lecture 17: Police-Community Relations and Police Legitimacy A. Police-Community Relations - Strained relationships with the community are a central challenge for police today, and have been for the past 50 years or so in the US -Recall that the civil rights era led to a lot of tension between citizens and the government over abuse of power etc. -And police were at the forefront of this crisis, as they are the most prominent face of government power in US society -As well as their own abuses of power, riots etc. putting the spotlight on them -As we discussed, this tension was one of the factors that brought about the “downfall” of the professional model -And police today are still struggling in many areas to improve relationships with the community Police-Community Relations - -This doesn’t mean there aren’t strained relationships between police and citizens in middle class neighborhoods, white neighborhoods etc. -Just that it’s less of any issue there, and problems are more likely to arise from resident’s feeling police aren’t doing enough to deal with smaller issues, are giving too many traffic tickets etc. -Where as the inner city, lower class minority communities issues with the police are centered more on issues such as police brutality and other abuses of power, racial profiling etc. -In short, in these areas it is a problem of discrimination and disparity, and the abuses of power leading to them, that undermine relationships between the policed and the community 1
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B. Discrimination and Disparity What’s the difference between discrimination and disparity? Discrimination - is defined as the differential treatment based on some extralegal category such as race, ethnicity, or gender. - i.e. If an employer refuses to hire members of a certain ethnic group, for example, that represents discrimination Disparity - different outcomes that are not necessarily caused by differential treatment. -For example, the 100:1 disparity for getting the mandatory minimum sentence for crack cocaine vs. powdered cocaine -Has had a much larger impact on minorities than whites -But that doesn’t mean it was designed to do so -It was put in place when crack was spreading and violence was skyrocketed in areas where crack use was prevalent -Thus it was a reaction to this panic -which had the unintended consequence of putting more minorities in prison with longer sentences Discrimination-Disparity Continuum - You c an think of this continuum as going from the worst case scenario to the ideal scenario 1. Systematic Discrimination - Discrimination at all stages of the criminal justice system, at all
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Lecture 17-Police-community relations - Lecture 17...

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