Policing the City: An Ethno-graphic

Other Pr. Mar. 2022. 112p. tr. from French by Rachel Gomme. ISBN 9781635422504. $25.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Three young men are waiting for the late-night bus to take them to a party when a car speeds past them. Moments later, police pull up and begin to interrogate the young men about a stolen car; the men are taken in for questioning and pressured to confess despite having no prior records of wrongdoing. This encounter begins a journey for the father of one of the young men. What could make police try to force innocents to confess to a crime? While researching his book Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing (the source material for this graphic novel), Fassin, a French anthropologist and sociologist, spent 15 months riding along with anticrime police squads in the Paris region of France as they patrol low-income neighborhoods. Fassin’s work aimed to understand the pressures and motivations behind incidents like this. This ethno-graphic is chilling in the parallels that can be seen in the struggles of Black people in the United States, exemplified by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Subtle details in the art (e.g., how the bright red police armbands slowly fade from identifying police officers to resembling attire seen on fascist uniforms) really bring home the message of everyday sadism.
VERDICT Highly recommended, as it adds to discussions on equity.
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