Rutgers University-New Brunswick experts are available to discuss racial and social justice and police violence amidst the trial and verdict of Derek Chauvin.

“After previous national outcries over cases of unnecessary deadly force, policy reforms centered on making policing more restrained and transparent,” said Hirschfield. “The national and international outcry following the killing of George Floyd prompted a markedly different national discussion. Now activists, journalists and public officials are asking much more fundamental questions. Should armed police be the first responders when it comes to traffic violations and accidents, mental health crises and homelessness? And when police do respond or make proactive stops, do the public safety benefits, if any, of their specific prerogatives like writing tickets to raise revenue, finding drugs and outstanding warrants, and making arrests, justify the costs with respect to civil rights and human lives? This case has prompted many citizens and leaders to rethink and reimagine policing.  And we should keep asking such questions regardless of the verdict in this case.”

Hirschfield is an associate professor of sociology and an affiliated professor in the criminal justice program at Rutgers ­New-Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences. His research includes a range of topics pertaining to crime and justice. Hirschfield has researched why rates of police lethality in the United States are higher than in Europe and wrote Policing the Police: U.S. and European Models and U.S. laws protect police, while endangering civilians.

“James Baldwin rightly worried that America had become a society of moral monsters,” said Darby. “It created the image of ‘Negroes’ as people that needed to be feared so that white America could rest easy despite the great contradiction between American racism and the unfulfilled promises of American democracy. Without real accountability for acting on these contrived fears in how Black America is policed, mistreated and miseducated, there will never be justice or hope for redemption.” 

Darby serves as Henry Rutgers Professor of Philosophy and is the co-host of A Pod Called Quest. His specialties include social and political philosophy.

  • John Farmer is the director of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics and Rutgers’ Miller Center for Community Protection. He is an expert in U.S. politics, law, national security and community protection for vulnerable populations. He is a former New Jersey attorney general and former senior counsel for the 9/11 Commission. From 2003-2004, as senior counsel and team leader for the 9/11 Commission, Farmer led the investigation of the country’s preparedness for and response to the terrorist attacks and was a principal author of the commission’s final report.