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Police: A Field Guide

  • Broadcast in History
The Root and Roots Show

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A Field Guide to the Police is a study of the indirect and taken-for granted language of policing, a language we're all forced to speak when we talk about law enforcement. The book refuses to see the world as police do, instead it contends that when we talk about police and police reform, we speak the language of police legitimation through the art of euphemism. State sexual assault becomes "body-cavity search," and ruthless beatings become "plain compliance."  Like any other field guide, it reveals a world that is hidden in plain view. In entries like "Police dog," "Stop and frisk," "Rough ride," and scores more, the authors show how "copspeak" obscures the true meaning and history of policing. This book will arm activists on the streets--as well as anyone with an open mind--on one of the key issues of our time: police violence. The book argues that a redefined language of policing might help us chart a future free of police and police violence.

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