Cops, Critics and Confrontation: The public debate on police violence in New York and its historical roots

Michelle Knight

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    This study examines the historical and current dynamics of the public debate about police violence in New York which is stuck in a perpetual loop of incidents between white (or even black) police officers and black citizens, followed by vehement discussions in which stakeholders endlessly repeat the same arguments. This research has shown that the causes for this stagnation can be traced back as far as 1845, the year the New York Police Department was established. From then onwards society has held conflicting views and unrealistic expectations of the police, who have been used as a vehicle for political communication, and who have actually never ceased to be criticized. This has resulted in a reflexively defensive response by the NYPD, police officers and later their unions, which in turn has aggravated the criticism.
    Ignoring the broader history of the NYPD is hence one of the biggest and most harmful mistakes in the discussions about police violence. This can also be said about the lack of focus on the communication itself, which not only hampers the progress of the public debate, but also reinforces existing problems. With a critical assessment of the present and past communication of all stakeholders, this study offers significant insights into the debate on New York police violence and may thus help to resolve the stagnation of that debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Redeker, Gisela, Supervisor
    • Bosscher, Doeko, Supervisor
    Award date29-Jun-2015
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-7911-1
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7910-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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