Waubonsee Community College

The politics of force, media and the construction of police brutality, Regina G. Lawrence

The politics of force, media and the construction of police brutality, Regina G. Lawrence
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 263-286) and index
index present
Literary Form
non fiction
Main title
The politics of force
Nature of contents
Oclc number
Responsibility statement
Regina G. Lawrence
Series statement
Journalism and political communication unbound
Sub title
media and the construction of police brutality
"Twenty years ago, when The Politics of Force was first published, the issue of police brutality was rarely covered in the news. This book was inspired by events following the Los Angeles Police Department's brutal treatment of Rodney King, a Black motorist whose beating by LAPD officers was captured from the balcony of a nearby resident, George Holliday, who happened to have a video camera (this, of course, was in the era before digital phones). First aired by a local television station, scenes from that videotape were shown repeatedly on national news outlets for weeks, giving rise to an unprecedented public reaction. "When George Holliday's video surfaced," one Black journalist observed, "it signaled to a lot of citizens just how bad police violence visited upon marginalized communities actually was" (Smith 2015). The officers' subsequent trial and acquittal, and the uprising in Los Angeles that followed, kept the issues of race and policing in the news for many weeks. That tumult was eventually replaced by relative silence on the issue, occasionally punctuated by news coverage of other violent police-citizen encounters, such as the brutal NYPD assault on Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997 and the death of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo in 1999, hit with 19 bullets fired by NYPD officers. But as is the case with other policy problems not championed by elites, coverage of police brutality was limited, sporadic, and largely tied to the occasional incident that became a major news story. Then, in the summer of 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Though what exactly lead up to Brown's death may have been unclear, the aftermath was captured on a bystander' cell phone video. It showed Brown's body left uncovered and unattended, face-down in the street, while neighbors grew agitated and police seemed to mill casually about. Suddenly, the issue again became national news. Brown's death and the intense social media activity and protest it evoked within and beyond Ferguson prompted another, more prolonged and more searing national argument about police brutality"--, Provided by publisher
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