Newton on Police Misconduct and Cultural Racism

Public policy lecturer Jim Newton authored opinion articles in the Los Angeles Times and Politico dissecting the current debate on police brutality and misconduct. Newton recalled the L.A. riots in 1992, where “more than a dozen officers watched as other officers beat [Rodney] King into submission — a brutal attack that was overseen and directed by a police sergeant.” Newton argued that King was “the victim of police misconduct, yes, but also of a debased and racist police culture.” Similarly, he wrote that “when a Minneapolis police officer jams his knee into the neck of a Black man suspected of passing a phony $20 bill, that suggests misconduct; when three of his fellow officers stand by for more than eight minutes while the suspect pleads for help, that points to a cultural problem.” While some acts of police misconduct may be the work of a stray, misguided officer, Newton concluded that “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.”

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