Blacks, Cops, and the State of Nature

Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law 15 (1):183-192 (2017)
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This essay offers a new way to conceptualize the “police violence against Blacks” phenomenon. I argue that we should see the situation as an instance of what Thomas Hobbes called the state of nature, that is, a state without effective law. This understanding of the phenomenon stands in sharp contrast to that offered by Professor Michelle Alexander in her book The New Jim Crow. Alexander sees the phenomenon as a continuation of centuries-old patterns of state-backed anti-Black racism. My account is that police are not under control of the state in their interactions with Blacks.
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