Above the Law Police and the Excessive Use of Force

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9780029291535: Above the Law Police and the Excessive Use of Force

The now-famous videotape of the beating of Rodney King precipitated a national outcry against police violence. Skolnick and Fyfe, two of the nation's top experts on law enforcement, use the incident to introduce a revealing historical analysis of such violence and the extent of its survival in law enforcement today.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Using as a starting point the acquittal of the cops accused of beating Rodney King, Skolnick (Law/Berkeley; House of Cards, 1978) and Fyfe (Criminal Justice/Temple Univ.) explore the reasons for, and suggest some solutions to, police brutality in America. Digging into police culture, the history of police departments, and the polarization of American society into criminal and noncriminal classes, the authors find several explanations for police brutality. Among them are: the narrow outlook of police executives; the insularity of police departments; the emphasis in police culture on military metaphors; and the handing down of the value of violence by higher-ranking cops to street officers. Few would quarrel with Skolnick and Fyfe when they contend that police ``are obliged to acknowledge the law's moral force and to be constrained by it,'' and few will be unconvinced by the authors' demonstration of how vulnerable Americans of all races and classes are to abuses of police power. Encouragingly, though, they conclude that brutality has diminished over the last 20 years as a result of greater minority representation on police forces nationwide. Skolnick and Fyfe make suggestions for reform (like ``community- oriented policing,'' a concept that already seems to have been implemented in many forces) that generally are intended to enhance community participation in policing. They also suggest videotaping police conduct as ``a technical tool deriving from a larger principle of police reform, which is that anything we can do to reduce the insularity of police is a good thing.'' An excellent history and analysis that balances sympathy for the dangers of police work with concern for its victims and with persuasive, if not profound, suggestions for reform. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Berkeley law professor Skolnick and Temple University criminal justice professor and former New York City police officer Fyfe examine the problem of police violence on the street, in crowd control, and in interrogations. Although they believe that police use of excessive force has decreased somewhat in the last 20 years, it is still widespread and is aggravated by the use of the military model, police culture, and methods of police administration. They argue that police agencies need major reforms including greater accountability, openness, and professionalism and would benefit from a new vision of policing. They are troubled by some police definitions of success (based on numbers of arrests versus preventing and solving peacekeeping problems); the view of police work as war rather than enlisting constructive community support; and the mindset of the "divided nation"--police allied with the white middle class against poor inner-city nonwhites. The authors include a detailed discussion of the Los Angeles police (including the Rodney King case) and other urban police departments as well as interesting comparisons with British policing. Students of criminal justice, public policy, and law, as well as police professionals and the educated public, won't want to miss this interesting, constructive, and timely book.
- Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Free Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 336 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 1.0in.The now-famous videotape of the beating of Rodney King precipitated a national outcry against police violence. Skolnick and Fyfe, two of the nations top experts on law enforcement, use the incident to introduce a revealing historical analysis of such violence and the extent of its survival in law enforcement today. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780029291535

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