The police in the United States, through a series of Supreme Court decisions, as well as policies enacted by state and city governments, have become largely immune from prosecution, even when they commit serious felonies such as murder. Police officers are criminally charged in less than 2 percent of fatal shootings and convicted in less than one-third of those cases. When officers injure but do not kill, they are even less likely to be prosecuted. Police in America are virtually omnipotent, prosecuted in a handful of high-profile cases that receive national attention, but otherwise freed to engage in lawless behavior, especially in poorer communities. University of California law professor Joanna Schwartz in her book Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable, details the myriad of ways the legal system has stripped the citizens of protections from police abuse. The wholesale blocking of civil rights litigation means that police are rarely held accountable for the crimes they commit, blunting all efforts to enact meaningful police oversight, legal accountability and reform. Joining me to discuss her book, our failed justice system and police forces that function, especially in poor communities, as rouge militias, is Professor Joanna Schwartz.
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The Chris Hedges Report Podcast
Covering US foreign policy, economic realities, and civil liberties in American society.