An impassioned memoir focused on policing’s fraught relationship with communities of color and other marginalized groups.
Writing with Harris, CNN and Wall Street Journal security contributor Horace vividly depicts the surreal challenges faced by African-Americans in law enforcement following a distinguished career: “I’ve been part of the best and worst that my noble profession represents.” Writing with deep knowledge and concern, the author argues that unequal policing based on ingrained racial bias and the drug war is even more pervasive than the attention paid to the Black Lives Matter movement and flashpoints like the killing of Michael Brown would suggest. “Despite claims to the contrary,” writes Horace, “Black Lives Matter is not anticop.” Rather, it is an outgrowth of long-term alienation that white communities fail to perceive, due to disparate approaches to policing that often come to light in cases of brutality. The author focuses on the evolution of tactics relative to the post-1960s war on drugs, agreeing with many scholars that a narrative of punitive enforcement followed by mass imprisonment crippled minority communities following the civil rights era. While his tone is knowing and restrained, he appears anguished by the long-term arc of mistreatment and mistrust within black communities; he looks at specific policies and places, creating a somewhat meandering structure. He notes how Ferguson cops used aggressive tactics to generate revenue for years prior to the Brown killing. He also examines New Orleans to illustrate entrenched departmental corruption that culminated in several notorious police-involved murders. In Chicago, he explores a city in crisis due to intractable violence in segregated neighborhoods and an egregious excessive-force killing followed by a political coverup. There, as elsewhere, he concludes, “African-Americans and Latinos want a leader who will bring more fairness to policing.” Horace includes interviews with other cops, emphasizing diverse outlooks and deepening his perspective effectively.
An astute, unvarnished account that should stand out from the crowd of pro– and anti–law enforcement books.