The infamous and prolific murder of George Floyd by policemen of the Minneapolis Police Department defined a watershed moment in the history of policing for the United States and triggered fundamental questions about the ‘peacekeepers’ of our society. Are the police a necessary part of any society? Are they truly there for the protection of human lives? And which lives in particular? These questions are but a few of the ones we need to ask again and again when it comes to the phenomenon of policing. They are not new, as the old mantra “who guards the guardians?” suggests. They are both ancient and modern for good reason. Policing of society must be a continuous conversation for the sake of all its members. In this article, we examine ‘broken window policing’ as one of the most essential elements of police practice in the US both before and after Floyd’s death. We review the controversial cornerstones of policing policy and subsequently assess the impact of civil unrest and politics on the current evolution of these policies.
Power, Structure and Responsibility: Police Reform in the United States of America © 2021 by Lucas van den Heuvel and Caoimhe Ní Shúilleabháin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0