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Lasting police reform will require confronting roots of racism in American policing

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Four researchers at Northeastern who have dedicated their careers to the subjects of policing and social movements came together to discuss what fair and just policing might look like in the future during the final installment of the university’s Racial Literacy series.

Lisa Bailey-Laguerre, an associate director of community relations for the Institute on Race and Justice, talked about her participation in a task force that was assembled to reform the Boston Police Department. She noted that from talking to community members, a few recurring themes appeared to emerge. 

The community members reported a desire to work with law enforcement to restore trust between the community and police officers. They also want to change police culture so that it’s more inclusive, collective, and transparent, she said. 

Rod Brunson, a professor of criminology, criminal justice, and political science, discussed working in high-crime communities that have had an excessive police presence, and the effects of police misconduct on Black families.

His research has yielded important insights: Black people report more dissatisfaction and distrust than people from other racial groups, he said. And, more Black parents have said they feel compelled to have conversations about racism and police violence with their children.

“We need a more nuanced dialogue and analysis of Black citizens’ police experiences—one that humanizes both parties, a dimension sorely missing from most current discussions of fragile police-minority citizen relations,” Brunson said.

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

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