Yale historian and law professor Elizabeth Hinton spoke to Boston Public Radio on Tuesday about her latest book, “America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s.”
“The cycle of police violence is where residents experience various policing strategies as violent and then in turn respond violently — which elicits an even more aggressive response on the part of police,” she said. “So we’ve been stuck in both this literal cycle of police violence and community responses to that violence, but also a policy cycle where the solution always becomes more policing, increase of surveillance, and incarcerations in prisons.”
This cycle is part of the reason that the United States became home to the largest prison system on the planet, Hinton said.
“The purpose and function of policing in racially marginalized communities is about surveillance and social control,” she said. “And in middle class, and suburban and white communities, it’s about protecting property from outsiders.”