Book Review: Policing Los Angeles: Race, resistance, and the rise of the LAPD

AuthorMuneeba Azam
Published date01 March 2023
Date01 March 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
toward police and their departments, Zimring also f‌inds a stark statistic on police accountability:
Only 1 in 1,000 police killings results in a criminal conviction.
In Part II, Zimring takes a broader look at police killings and examines ways these fatal incidents
can be controlled and ultimately reduced. He begins by echoing the need for more complete, accurate
data on all police killings. Zimring argues that federal agencies should manage a mandatory reporting
system that captures all deaths by and of police and incidents that result in the critical injury of civil-
ians and police. He then goes on to urge police departments to adopt a principle belief that the pres-
ervation of civilian life should be a priority. By examining the frequency of shootings, number of
times a target is shot in a single incident, and the response by police departments to these shooting,
Zimring argues that departments are not recognizing the events as major concerns. Further, admin-
istrations should develop policies that restrict the use of deadly force without risking off‌icer safety,
such as not killing persons who do not possess a weapon, reassessing the situation after one shot is
f‌ired, and so on.
When Police Kill is a well-researched and compelling book that serves as the f‌irst of its kind.
Zimrings work is unique in that he compiles a comprehensive collection of the known national
data sets on police use of lethal force and uses these data to answer long overdue questions regarding
deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Additionally, Zimring includes analyses on both civilian
deaths by police and police deaths by civiliansnot just for political reasonsbut to show the
link between police use of lethal force and their perception of the risk of assault against them. He
argues that while the correlation between the two is growing weaker, these factors should be
talked about in conjunction with each other in order to reduce civilian deaths without risking
off‌icer safety.
Zimring maintains that, while it will take work, signif‌icantly reducing deaths at the hands of police
off‌icers is possible. While geared toward practitioners, policy makers, and academic researchers,
When Police Kill is a must read for all those interested in police reform, public policy, and research
on law enforcement practices. The f‌indings presented here will no doubt serve as a launching pad into
a world of lethal force research and policy that will make great strides toward improving policing
practices and off‌icer safety.
Taryn Zastrow
Felkor-Kantor, M. (2018). Policing Los Angeles: Race, resistance, and the rise of the LAPD. Chapel Hill: The
University of North Carolina Press. 382 pp. $34.95, ISBN 978-1-4696-4683-1.
Reviewed by: Muneeba Azam, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819859408
Max Felker-KantorsPolicing Los Angeles: Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD provides a
historical account of the expansive power of the police during the War on Crime and War on Drugs
era. The author is currently an assistant professor at Ball State University whose research primarily
focuses on race, politics, and social movements. Felkor-Kantors argument extends beyond institu-
tional racism and unfettering police power, to reveal the role of anti-police abuse social movements in
the 1960s and beyond. The following review of Policing Los Angeles aims to provide a detailed
summary as well as some weaknesses and strengths. Grounded in theory, Felker-Kantor explains
how a politicized police department hid behind the guise of utilitarianism and procedural justice
Book Reviews 129

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