Writing About Police Brutality

I've done a lot of it lately. Here are the links, in order:

I wrote about my days as a former CCRB investigator. The job was interesting. I took in complaints of police misconduct in New York City, investigated them, researched legal and procedural precedent and wrote recommendations to the actual Review Board. The frustrating thing, for me, about case work is that, after awhile, each new case can look like a million you've already had. It wasn't for me. There were also broad trends that we didn't have the power to do much about, at least at the time. One of the biggest things were that people in poor neighborhoods were very often arrested for minor crimes, crimes which didn't hurt anyone and the enforcement of which were at the officers' discretion.

I wrote about why people protested in Ferguson, Missouri after the decision not to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown. I know some of the protests turned violent, and I know violence can be hard to understand. It's difficult to communicate the desperate anger and rage a lot of communities feel. If you want background context on how oppressive the legal system is there on poor people of color, read Radley Balko. Voting, peacefully protesting, writing—all of those can be effective ways to change the system. But I think the people in Ferugson are feeling something deeper and more radical. I'm not excusing it, but I think it's always worth it to try to understand other people.

I wrote about my decision to protest after a Grand Jury in Staten Island did not indict the officer who killed Eric Garner by putting him in a chokehold. Sometimes, there's nothing else left to do.