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From Enforcers to Guardians

A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence

Hannah L. F. Cooper, ScD, and Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD

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A public health approach to understanding and eliminating excessive police violence.

Excessive police violence and its disproportionate targeting of minority communities has existed in the United States since police forces first formed in the colonial period. A personal tragedy for its victims, for the people who love them, and for their broader communities, excessive police violence is also a profound violation of human and civil rights.

Most public discourse about excessive police violence focuses, understandably, on the horrors of civilian deaths. In From Enforcers to Guardians, Hannah L. F...

A public health approach to understanding and eliminating excessive police violence.

Excessive police violence and its disproportionate targeting of minority communities has existed in the United States since police forces first formed in the colonial period. A personal tragedy for its victims, for the people who love them, and for their broader communities, excessive police violence is also a profound violation of human and civil rights.

Most public discourse about excessive police violence focuses, understandably, on the horrors of civilian deaths. In From Enforcers to Guardians, Hannah L. F. Cooper and Mindy Thompson Fullilove approach the issue from a radically different angle: as a public health problem. By using a public health framing, this book challenges readers to recognize that the suffering created by excessive police violence extends far outside of death to include sexual, psychological, neglectful, and nonfatal physical violence as well.

Arguing that excessive police violence has been deliberately used to marginalize working-class and minority communities, Cooper and Fullilove describe what we know about the history, distribution, and health impacts of police violence, from slave patrols in colonial times to war on drugs policing in the present-day United States. Finally, the book surveys efforts, including Barack Obama's 2015 creation of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, to eliminate police violence, and proposes a multisystem, multilevel strategy to end marginality and police violence and to achieve guardian policing.

Aimed at anyone seeking to understand the causes and distributions of excessive police violence—and to develop interventions to end it—From Enforcers to Guardians frames excessive police violence so that it can be understood, researched, and taught about through a public health lens.

Reviews

Reviews

Many public health readers of From Enforcers to Guardians will come away with the centrality of better data to improve transparency and accountability. This book meets a critical need that sets public health on a path to fewer lives cut short, the goal of our field. It also creates room for additional conversations to address what is still missing. That is why it is such an important book.

A thoughtful, incisive public health primer on the deeply entrenched and damaging practice of police brutality.

This book is an important contribution to understanding excessive and brutal policing as a social determinant of health.

There is a huge gap in the literature on this very timely topic. This book provides a conceptual and empirical overview that can shape discourse and stimulate future research. Well written and logical, this book should become part of the curriculum for courses in public health related to violence and community-based participatory work, as well as criminology and sociology courses. It will be of interest to public policy and administration schools as well.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
280
ISBN
9781421436449
Illustration Description
26 figures
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Timeline
Chapter 1. Coming to Terms
Part I. Distorted Policing and Its Origins
Chapter 2. Peelers and Slave Patrols
Chapter 3. Community Collapse
Chapter 4. War on Drugs
Part II

List of Illustrations
Preface
Timeline
Chapter 1. Coming to Terms
Part I. Distorted Policing and Its Origins
Chapter 2. Peelers and Slave Patrols
Chapter 3. Community Collapse
Chapter 4. War on Drugs
Part II. Measuring Distorted Policing and Its Effects
Chapter 5. Public Health Investigations
Chapter 6. Pattern and Practice Investigations I: Distorted Policing in Urban Contexts 000
Chapter 7. Pattern and Practice Investigations II: Types of Violence Documented 000
Part III. Getting to Guardianship
Chapter 8. Interventions That Have Been Tried
Chapter 9. A Magic Strategy
Conclusion. Moving Forward
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bios
Hannah L. F. Cooper
Featured Contributor

Hannah L. F. Cooper, ScD

Hannah L. F. Cooper, ScD is a professor within Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, where she holds the Rollins Chair in Substance Use Disorders Research.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD
Featured Contributor

Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD

Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD is a professor of urban policy and health at The New School. She is the author of Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities.