Even critics have a difficult time imagining a world without police. But just what is the role of police in a democracy: to serve the public or to protect the powerful? Tracing the evolution of the modern police force back to the slave patrols, this controversial study observes the police as the armed defender of a violent status quo.
Written for both the lay reader and for scholars, Our Enemies in Blue demonstrates that police misconduct isn’t just a matter of a “bad apples,” but a function of the very nature of policing in the US. Williams examines the populations most often subjected to police abuse and the forms that abuse takes, delving into the role of police brutality in repressing political dissent and in preserving existing structures of inequality.