The Riders Come Out at Night: Brutality, Corruption, and Cover Up in Oakland

S. & S. Audio. Jan. 2023. 19:48 hrs. ISBN 9781797150109. $29.99. CRIME
Robin Miles expertly voices journalists Winston and BondGraham’s incisive debut exploring the Oakland Police Department’s decades-long resistance to outside oversight. The culmination of 20 years of reporting, this nearly 20-hour audio delves deep into the department’s history, checkered with brutality, unwarranted surveillance, and systemic issues that prevented the police from addressing their failures. After the conviction of a vicious gang of police officers known as the Riders, Oakland’s police force underwent a series of reforms. However, scandals, including senseless murders of young Black and brown men, excessive use of force against protestors, and sex crimes, continued to surface. With a steady pace and authoritative tone, Miles allows Winston and BondGraham’s content to speak for itself, providing listeners with an immersive survey of wrongdoing committed by political figures, citizens, and officers. Rich with Bay Area history, listeners learn how Oakland’s activism assists in keeping the police department in check.
VERDICT A magnum opus for the well-worn aphorism “the police cannot police themselves,” this audio’s impact lies in the wealth of examples emphasizing that this abusive conduct is etched in place by pattern and practice. The authors make a powerful case that public pressure is essential in making police departments accountable.
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