This groundbreaking history of how American police forces have been militarized is now revised and updated. Newly added material brings the story through 2020, including analysis of the Ferguson protests, the Obama and Trump administrations, and the George Floyd protests.
The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But over the last two centuries, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as enemies.
In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative that spans from America’s earliest days through today shows how a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.
About the Author
Radley Balko reports on criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He was previously a writer and investigative reporter at the Huffington Post, and a reporter and editor for Reason magazine. He is also co-author of the acclaimed book The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South. His work has been cited twice by the U.S. Supreme Court, and by the Mississippi Supreme Court and two federal appeals courts. He has won the L.A. Press Club's Journalist of the Year award, the NACDL's Champion of Justice Award, the Innocence Project's Journalism Award, and the Bastiat Prize for Journalism. He lives in Nashville, where he also writes about the city's music and culture.