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College of Arts and Sciences

Policing one of many abuses inflicted by the criminal justice system

By: Staff
A&S Communications
June 3, 2020

Protests against racism and police violence escalated across the country this week, with many protesters injured and arrested by police.

Joe Margulies, professor of law and government at Cornell University, is a civil rights attorney and expert on the national security state. He says that police abuses should not be separated from many other abuses suffered by poor people of color at the hands of the criminal justice system:

“The nation is convulsed by protests, but no one should think that the injustices propelling them begin and end with policing.

“For decades, the criminal justice system has placed a metaphorical knee to the neck of the poor, and especially poor people of color, and abuses inflicted by the police must not be separated from the subsequent abuses inflicted by courts when they set bail, prosecutors when they misuse discretion, politicians when they demand excessive prison terms, and legislators when they saddle people with collateral consequences. The poor endure them as many symptoms of the same sickness, which is how they should be understood.”

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