Written by Rich Barlow
Though you’d never know it from TV police procedurals, 80 percent of arrests and state criminal dockets involve misdemeanors—a few are more serious crimes (drunk driving, certain domestic violence cases), but most are for low level offenses, such as loitering, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and traffic violations.
“These ongoing practices have led to the mass criminalization of millions of people, and especially Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people,” says Jessica Simes, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of sociology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened things as it’s rampaged through those communities, turning police into public health enforcers. “Activists and news reports from select cities point to 911 calls and policing…as the primary tools cities are using to enforce social distancing guidelines,” says Jaquelyn L. Jahn, a BU visiting scholar from Harvard.
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