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23 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 205 (2019-2020)
KKK in the PD: White Supremacist Police and What to Do about It

handle is hein.journals/lewclr23 and id is 115 raw text is: 








                            KKK   IN  THE   PD:
WHITE SUPREMACIST POLICE AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT


                                     by
                              Vida B. Johnson*

  There is an epidemic of white supremacists in police departments. Police offic-
  ers have been identified as members of white supremacist groups in Florida,
  Alabama  and Louisiana. There have been scandals in over 100 different police
  departments, in over forty different states, in which individual police officers
  have sent overtly racist emails, texts, or made racist comments via social media.
  This is a nation-wide problem. It is one that is not limited to just beat officers;
  some of these shocking occurrences have even involved high-ranking members
  of their respective police forces.
  Although the FB.I. warned  of white supremacists infiltrating police depart-
  ments in 2006, the denial ofthe problem has only enabled it to continue seem-
  ingly unabated.
  While  there have been some moderate successes in criminal justice reform in
  the last decade, the existence of white supremacists in police departments ham-
  per that success. Frequent incidents of overt police racism, and the ensuing
  media reports about them, make the general public, and particularly people of
  color, less likely to see racism at the hands of the police and criminal justice
  system as unconscious and more likely to view it as purposeful. These legitimate
  fears further diminish the criminal justice system in the eyes of the people to
  whom  it is most harsh.
  As tensions mount between communities ofcolor and police, public opinion of
  police is low. A third ofAmericans have an unfavorable opinion ofpolice. The
  number  is even higher among African Americans: 60%  have an unfavorable
  view oflaw enforcement. This dispiriting relationship threatens the reputation
  of the criminal justice system, the physical safety of certain communities and
  the very fabric of our country. Without swift action by state and federal law
  enforcement, things will only get worse. The problem cannot be overstated. So
  far, however, this problem has not attracted many solutions.


205


      Professor from Practice, Georgetown Law. Thanks to Jonathan Anderson, Kris Henning,
Robin Walker-Sterling, and Abbe Smith for their thoughtful comments. Many thanks to Colleen
Cullen and Alexandra Douglas for tireless research help.

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