Who Is Police Unions?

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One of the defining characteristics of the modern nation state is that the state has a monopoly on the use of force. In the United States, police officers are a manifestation of this agreement, to which we are all parties--whether we like it or not--and that is perhaps one reason among many why the apparent lack of accountability that seemingly pervades incidents of police misconduct is so troubling: it throws into question the terms of the social contract. There’s a lot to talk about here, but when it comes to accountability, or lack thereof, there’s a story to be told about money, politics, and power, and that story is playing out in cities across the country, and is visible not only in the contracts that police unions negotiate with the cities who employ them, but in the role police unions play in local politics. On this episode of “Who Is?,” Sean Morrow tackles police unions, and goes to St. Louis to see how reform continues to unfold in the metro, nearly seven years after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

  • Phillip Atiba Goff, a Professor of African-American Studies and Psychology at Yale University. Dr. Goff is a co-Founder of the Center for Policing Equity, a research organization that promotes data-informed approaches to police transparency, equity, and accountability
  • Stephen Rushin, a Professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he teaches criminal law, evidence, and police accountability
  • Blake Strode, Executive Director of ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit civil rights law firm based in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Retired Sergeant Heather Taylor, a 20-year veteran of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Taylor was previously President of the Ethical Society of Police, a police association in St. Louis

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52 episodes