In his tackle to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, President Biden known as on legislators to go the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, saying, “We have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, to root out systemic racism in our criminal-justice system.”

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This week, within the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin verdict, in Minneapolis, we’re bringing you a choice of items in regards to the historical past of race and policing in America. In “How Police Unions Fight Reform,” William Finnegan writes in regards to the troubling powers of N.Y.P.D. unions. In “Busted in New York,” the essayist and novelist Darryl Pinckney recounts his arrest on a minor drug cost on the Lower East Side. (“Jail was going to get me over my fear of saying the obvious, because there was no way to ignore all morning the fact that everyone in the cell was either black or Hispanic.”) In “How a Deadly Police Force Ruled a City,” Shane Bauer examines the failure to carry officers accountable in Vallejo, California, the place cops are liable for the next price of killings than all however one of many nation’s hundred largest police forces. Finally, in “The Invention of the Police,” Jill Lepore explores the evolution of contemporary city policing and its connection to American racism. (“To say that many good and admirable people are police officers, dedicated and brave public servants, which is, of course, true, is to fail to address both the nature and the scale of the crisis and the legacy of centuries of racial injustice.”) These items provide a kaleidoscopic and penetrating have a look at a central disaster in American life.

—David Remnick

Photograph courtesy Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Why did American policing get so massive, so quick? The reply, primarily, is slavery.

Illustration by R. Gregory Christie

A nighttime stroll results in bother.

Activists insist that police departments should change. For half a century, New York City’s P.B.A. has efficiently resisted such calls for.

After years of impunity, the police in Vallejo, California, took over town’s politics and threatened its individuals.

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