“Police Militarization & 'Racial Fear' as a Legal Defense”
Thursday, April 9, 2015
4:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Rutgers School of Law-Newark
Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Rutgers Race and the Law Review Spring of 2015 Symposium, entitled “Police militarization and ‘Racial Fear’ as a Legal Defense” will feature a panel of legal experts and distinguished speakers, as well as provide for opportunities for participants to meaningfully engage with one another on current issues pertaining to race and the law..
More specifically, the two issues, (1) police militarization and (2) “racial fear” as the legally accepted justification for the tragic killings of unarmed African American men and women, intersect and come to the fore of national media and scholarly debates in light of the killings of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Missouri. The latter event has invoked immense controversy over the issue of the police militarization, specifically concerning the police response to protestors and journalists following the incidents in Ferguson.
In addition, discussion will touch on the federal government's policy whereby military-grade weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement, as well as how the receipt of such weaponry exacerbates the intellectual divide between those who might defend the policing policies of local departments (e.g., policing should focus on crime deterrence even if lives are lost in the process) and those who might defend the expectations of the communities being served (e.g., policing should focus on community building in the sense of the “protect and serve” credo). Moreover, discussion will touch upon the question of why military tactics and weaponry are used disproportionately in urban and/or minority communities, particularly in light of the recent “Pumpkin Fest” riots near Keene State in New Hampshire.
The Institute for Professional Education offers high-quality, reasonably–priced continuing legal education programs to members of the bar in convenient locations.
Finally, discussion will touch on the many unarmed African American men killed in various parts of the nation, and why, in what has been dubbed “Post-Racial America,” many Americans continue to view African American males as “dangerous” and/or “scary” to the extent that this “fear of race” rises to the level of a legally acceptable defense to killing, as well as what role the media plays in establishing the views of the hegemony.