Breonna Taylor, Walter Wallace Jr., Daniel Prude, and Rayshard Brooks were just a few of the 1,127 people brutally killed by police in 2020. In fact, there were only 18 days last year during which a police officer in the U.S. did not kill a civilian. But in the days, weeks and months following the death of George Floyd, our nation saw a long overdue demand for systemic, transformative change in the criminal justice system. This work is far from finished as we know that Black people are still more than three times as likely to be killed during a police encounter as their white peers.
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving comprehensive reform lies with police unions and their powerful lobbying efforts. Time and time again, police lobbyists have consistently undermined reform efforts at closed-door collective bargaining tables, in state capitols, and in local and state elections — creating significant impediments to achieving real change.
In this week’s episode of At Liberty, we’re joined by University of Minnesota history professor Dr. William P. Jones. Dr. Jones, an expert on the intersection of race and class and the history of unions and labor organizing, helps us understand the increasing power and influence of police lobbyists and their broader implications on our communities.