- Paperback: 378 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press (October 31, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807050237
- ISBN-13: 978-0807050231
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York City Paperback – October 31, 2004
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
This fascinating, highly detailed historical survey, beginning with the NYPD's founding in 1845, reads like a true crime page-turner. Covering the horrifying examples of brutality from "clubbing" in the late 19th century-"the routine bludgeoning of citizens by patrolmen armed with nightsticks or blackjacks,"-to the backroom torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997, as well as reviewing the numerous citizen and governmental attempts to curb police violence, Johnson (The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II) definitively supports her main argument: "Police brutality is not a timeless, static phenomenon, nor has there been a linear progression toward more professional, less violent police behavior." Throughout, she provides a sensitive and insightful look at the range of social, political and economic changes that have affected how police brutality has been repeatedly redefined, and she illuminates key historic eras, such as her explanation of how the common abuse of Jews and African-Americans in the 1910s "laid the groundwork for the black-Jewish alliance" of the '30s and '40s. She also deftly provides numerous explanations of interesting facts related to police behavior, such as how the interrogation term "the third degree" was derived from the grueling initiation rites of 19th-century Freemasonry.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Johnson . . . has taken on a formidable and sensitive subject and has largely conquered it, thanks to indefatigable research and a rigorous, unblinking analysis . . . a well-written, intelligent and at times even colorful examination of one of the perennial problems of urban life . . . an invaluable contribution to the histories both of New York and of American law enforcement in general.' -Kevin Baker, New York Times Book Review
'A masterfully crafted chronicle . . . The pages are sprinkled with fascinating episodes and anecdotes, uncovering the 'story behind the story' for such police practices as 'the third degree' and 'sweatboxes.'' -James Alan Fox, Boston Globe
'This fascinating, highly detailed historical survey, beginning with the NYPD's founding in 1845, reads like a true-crime page-turner . . . [Johnson] provides a sensitive and insightful look at the range of social, political and economic changes that have affected how police brutality has been repeatedly redefined.' -Publishers Weekly
"Street Justice gives the reader pause to seriously reconsider the caliber of many of the people who've worn badges and carried guns on our streets." New York Resident
Top customer reviews
Pay close attentiont to the subtitle of the book: Johnson is only narrowing her study to this particular part--police violence--of the NYPD's history from its inception until the aftermath of 9/11/01. And, as she makes very clear at the start, the NYPD is far from the worst offender, when it comes to police violence: "Compared with police agencies in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, for example, New York has not been an especially abusive department... New York has historically been the epicenter of antibrutality organizing." And while the police do not come off as innocent, especially when it comes to race relations, random violence, the "third degree" or class animosities, Johnson takes great pains to impart to readers that these problems are endemic of a larger issue. Time and again she reminds the reader, as she does toward the end of the book, that ever-shifting political tensions, public policy and backroom infighting made it nearly impossible for the NYPD to react in a consistent and predictable manner.
The various examples of police violence are both infuriating and saddening. However, Johnson is quick to reveal the frustrations of the NYPD's desire to maintain law and order in the face of often hostile criminals and organizations. After all, how does a police force "restrain" itself without appearing weak and ineffective? By the end of the book, one is left disturbed by these frequent and vicious outbursts of violence by the police that continue to this day. And, yet, proud that New York has been on the front line of addressing this issue again and again.
This is a well-researched and documented study (although I was a bit mortified to see Herbert Asbury's "The Gangs of New York" used as a reference on one or two occasions). Some excellent companion pieces for specific periods covered by this book are Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York and Thai Jones' "More Powerful Than Dynamite."
The used hardcover product also receives a full five stars, and Amazon's sellers delivered the book on-time.