Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States
What is the reality of policing in the United States? Do the police keep anyone safe and secure other than the very wealthy? How do recent police killings of young black people in the United States fit into the historical and global context of anti-blackness?
This collection of reports and essays (the first collaboration between Truthout and Haymarket Books) explores police violence against black, brown, indigenous and other marginalized communities, miscarriages of justice, and failures of token accountability and reform measures. It also makes a compelling and provocative argument against calling the police.
Contributions cover a broad range of issues including the killing by police of black men and women, police violence against Latino and indigenous communities, law enforcement's treatment of pregnant people and those with mental illness, and the impact of racist police violence on parenting, as well as specific stories such as a Detroit police conspiracy to slap murder convictions on young black men using police informant and the failure of Chicago's much-touted Independent Police Review Authority, the body supposedly responsible for investigating police misconduct. The title Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is no mere provocation: the book also explores alternatives for keeping communities safe.
Contributors include William C. Anderson, Candice Bernd, Aaron Cantú, Thandi Chimurenga, Ejeris Dixon, Adam Hudson, Victoria Law, Mike Ludwig, Sarah Macaraeg, and Roberto Rodriguez.
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"Would some communities be safer without police? That's the question at the heart of Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?, a collection of essays and reportage penned by some of Truthout's most compelling and enlightened thinkers--including #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza. With heartbreaking, glass-sharp prose, the book catalogs the abuse and destruction of black, native, and trans bodies. And then, most importantly, it offers real-world solutions."
--Chicago Review of Books "A must-read for anyone seeking to understand American culture in the present day."
--Xica Nation "Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is an urgently necessary book, one that deepens and complicates thinking around police violence without waiting for a fresh on-camera brutality to restart the national conversation."
--New City "This brilliant collection of essays, written by activists, journalists, community organizers and survivors of state violence, urgently confronts the criminalization, police violence and anti-Black racism that is plaguing urban communities. It is one of the most important books to emerge about these critical issues: passionately written with a keen eye towards building a world free of the cruelty and violence of the carceral state."
-Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation "Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is a powerful collection of essays by organizers, legal activists and progressive journalists that take us beyond the 'few bad apples' theory of police violence, insisting that we interrogate the essential role and purpose of police and policing in our society. These writers have highlighted some of the critical questions that the anti-state violence movement is wrestling with."
-Barbara Ransby, author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision "This timely and essential set of essays written by activists, organizers and journalists offers a window into our particular historical moment centered on an ongoing struggle against state violence. As a long-time organizer immersed in the current Movement for Black Lives, I read the contributions hoping to learn and to be inspired. I found the essays to be informative, illuminating and challenging. The book covers topics ranging from police torture and the fight for accountability to how we might best engage in transformative organizing that could lead to a word without police. I cannot recommend this anthology any more highly. It's an indispensable primer for anyone who wants to understand the current rebellions and uprisings against police impunity."
-Mariame Kaba, founder and director of Project NIA "Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is an extraordinary collection of writings by activists living and working at the epicenter of police violence and the anti-Blackness and structural racism so foundational to U.S. systems of policing. Simultaneously enraging, invigorating, radically imaginative, practical, and inspiring, this essential book relocates justice in accountable social, economic, and cultural relationships, pointing the way toward foundational transformation rather than cosmetic reform."
-Kay Whitlock, co-author of Considering Hate and Queer (In)Justice "America is at war, and the violence that propels that war is largely directed at people of color, especially Black youth. One instance of such a war is evident in the violence by the police against Black communities, the criminalization of everyday behavior, the assaults on Black bodies, and the ever growing incarceration state. Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? addresses this violence in a way no other book has done in the last forty years. It reveals the underlying causes, economic and ideological, that drive such violence so as to provide a comprehensive understanding of its roots, its multiple layers, history, and different forms while at the same time it offers a discourse of critical engagement and transformation in order to address it. Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is an invaluable resource for asking questions about the emergence of racist violence and state terrorism as a defining principle of everyday life and how they can be addressed. Everyone who cares about justice and democracy and a future in which they mutually inform each other should read this book."
-Henry Giroux, author of Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of Spectacle "We know the names: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald. And we've seen the uprisings: L.A., Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago. Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? goes behind the headlines to ask the deeper questions: Do the police make communities (particularly, communities where Black and Brown people live) safer? Who do community residents fear? Are there ways to address those fears without the police and carceral state? What would we have to create in order to do this? What steps must we take to get there? Each of the essays examines these inter-related questions in depth. Read together, they provide an extremely thorough, and timely, examination of the issues underlying these recent events, forcing us to rethink the very idea of justice in this country."
-Alan Mills, Uptown People's Law Center