SSN Commentary

The Racist History of Police in America

Policy field

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University of Maine

Originally published as  "The Racist History of Police in America," Bangor Daily News, June 11, 2020

We’ve seen protests across the country in honor of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis killed by police officers, and Breonna Taylor, a Black woman from Louisville, Kentucky, killed by police in her home while she slept.

Though these cases are in our current consciousness, stories like these are countless. We are only four to six years removed from uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, which were in response to police brutality, repression and murder. Since then, nothing about policing has meaningfully changed. We can trace why that is to policing’s history and the systemic oppression at the profession’s core.