Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. As the old saying goes, when you are holding a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER argues in an upcoming book that, in our society, the police have become that sort of hammer, blocking us from envisioning other ways to resolve conflict even as the police themselves are responsible for violence inflicted on poor and minority neighborhoods. In his discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, Ciccariello-Maher describes cases in Latin America where communities have simultaneously expelled police and criminals, taking control into their own hands. While he does not contend that police abolitionists will achieve their goals quickly, he points to the value of the “abolitionist horizon” in opening up the American imagination – and policy discussions – to radical alternatives to ubiquitous policing.
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