Vitale and Correia take to the stage in conversation, sharing insight from their new books The End of Policing (Vitale) and Police: A Field Guide (Correia). Vitale condemns the “broken windows” practices and militarization of law enforcement, and reveals the origins of modern policing as a tool of social control. He contends that the best solution to bad policing may be an end to policing altogether, citing examples of robust alternatives such as legalization, restorative justice, and harm reduction that have led to reductions in crime, spending, and injustice.
Correia entwines the discussion with perspectives on the language of police, highlighting our legitimization of a world hidden in plain view through the art of euphemism. He demonstrates how “cop-speak” normalizes and obfuscates behaviors that should be unacceptable from our law enforcement—with phrases such as “body-cavity search” and “plain compliance”—obscuring their true meaning along with the history of policing itself. Seeking to arm activists on the streets against one of the key issues of our time, Correia argues that a redefined language of policing might help us chart a future free of police and police violence. Join Vitale and Correia for an exploration of law enforcement—how modern police practices may exacerbate the very problems they are supposed to solve, and what we can do to inspire reform.
Alex S. Vitale is Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and coordinator of the institute’s Policing and Social Justice Project. He has spent the last 25 years writing about policing and consults both police departments and human rights organizations internationally. He is also a frequent essayist, whose writings have appeared in the New York Daily News, New York Times, Nation, Gotham Gazette, and New Inquiry.
David Correia is a scholar, activist, and associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. His work focuses on topics of environmental politics, violence and its relation to law & property, critical human geography and political economy. He is the author of Properties of Violence: Law and Land Grant Struggle in Northern New Mexico.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Red May Seattle as part of the Civics series.