Paul Butler serves as Consulting Editor to CRIME STORY. A former federal prosecutor, Butler provides legal commentary for CNN, MSNBC, and NPR and has been featured on 60 Minutes and profiled in the Washington Post. A law professor at Georgetown University and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School in 2017-18, he is the author of Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, winner of the Harry Chapin Media Award, and Chokehold: Policing Black Men (both from The New Press). He has published numerous op-eds and book reviews, including in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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Black protest – especially against police violence – scares some people. The Attorney General of the United States, for example, does not think the police should be criticized. Last week William Barr issued a threat: if certain communities don’t start showing the police “support and respect” they “might find themselves without the police protection they need.” In an earlier speech to the Fraternal Order of Police, Barr claimed “the anti-police narrative is fanning disrespect for the law.” This is, of course, a lie. The movement for black lives is about holding the police accountable, to...
Last week President Donald Trump spoke in Chicago at the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Trump used the occasion to call out the actor Jussie Smollett, who had been accused of filing a false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime. Trump said that Smollett had perpetrated a scam, and that Congress’ impeachment investigation was a scam too. Earlier in the year it appeared that Donald Trump and Jussie Smollett had some things in common. Each was the...