Racialized Policing: Aboriginal People's Encounters with the Police

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Policing is a controversial subject, generating considerable debate. One issue of concern has been racial profiling by police, that is, the alleged practice of targeting individuals and groups on the basis of race. Racialized Policing argues that the debate has been limited by its individualized frame. As well, the concen- tration on police relations with people of colour means that Aboriginal people s encounters with police receive far less scrutiny. Going beyond the interpersonal level and broadening our gaze to explore how race and racism play out in institutional practices and systemic processes, this book exposes the ways in which policing is racialized. Situating the police in their role as reproducers of order, Elizabeth Comack draws on the historical record and contemporary cases of Aboriginal-police relations the shooting of J.J. Harper by a Winnipeg police officer in 1988, the Starlight Tours in Saskatoon, and the shooting of Matthew Dumas by a Winnipeg police officer in 2005 as well as interviews conducted with Aboriginal people in Winnipeg s inner-city communities to explore how race and racism inform the routine practices of police officers and define the cultural frames of reference that officers adopt in their encounters with Aboriginal people. In short, having defined Aboriginal people as troublesome, police respond with troublesome practices of their own. Arguing that resolution requires a fundamental transformation in the structure and organization of policing, Racialized Policing makes suggestions for re-framing the role of police and the order they reproduce.