COPS AND REBELS: A Study of Provocation by Paul Chevigny

COPS AND REBELS: A Study of Provocation

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A remarkable documentation of a frame-up presented by a prominent civil liberties lawyer and author of the well-received Police Power (1969). Chevigny writes as if he were presenting his case to a jury; for the most part he prefers to allow his defendants -- Brooklyn Black Panthers -- to speak for themselves. They were charged with conspiracy to rob a hotel: the idea, the weapons, and the plan (it was shown at the trial) were supplied by a police agent. The aspirations of both victims and provocateur are shown to be the same: both hoped for a better future, the former through organizing oppressed blacks, the latter through selling his services to the established order. The trial proceeded predictably and, in a climate of fear and prejudice against all Panthers, the defendants were found guilty of lesser charges. The sentencing itself was symptomatic of the trial: justice was meted according to previous convictions, so that the defendants with prior records bore the brunt of the frame-up. Methods of police provocation are traced historically with examples from Tsarist Russia, France, and Scotland Yard's exploitation of the 19th-century anarchist scare, adding to an essential case study for libertarians defending civil rights and for students of police tactics.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1972
Publisher: Pantheon