Shortly after the publication of his 1969 book Police Power: Police Abuses in New York City, Paul Chevigny spent an hour in conversation with Studs.  At the time, Mr. Chevigny was a lawyer practicing in Harlem and working with the New York Civil Liberties Union; in 1977, he began teaching law at New York University and he is now the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law Emeritus.

After the introductions, Studs plays a clip from an earlier interview with an unnamed Puerto Rican man recounting his harassment by multiple Chicago police officers as he leaves his workplace.  Mr. Chevigny and Studs go on to talk about how race and class affect arrests and acquittal rates, and the strategy of bringing false charges in order to cover up inappropriate police actions.  But they also talk about society’s responsibility in police brutality and corruption: a society must change in order for its police force to change.

Toward the end of the interview, Mr. Chevigny predicts that our society will not make any great changes toward ending police brutality and corruption: “I don’t think that the powers of the police are going to decline, and I don’t think that society’s going to want to limit their abuses any more than they’ve done up to now, and probably less.”

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