The purpose of this Note is to analyze the limitations of the criminal legal system when faced with cases of police-related shootings. Specifically, I will discuss two instances of police (mis)conduct that captured the attention of the nation in the past three years: the non-indictment of Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann and the conviction of NYPD Officer Peter Liang. First, by assessing the circumstances and responses to those two cases, I will argue that the criminal legal system is inherently incapable of responding to and remedying the violence that occurs in situations laced with power, privilege, and emotional trauma. Second, I will engage in an analysis of the growth of restorative justice and community justice practices within the United States in the last forty years in an attempt to expand on the current discussion surrounding police-related shootings. Finally, I will assess the potential value of utilizing restorative justice practices, grounded in a community justice model, in situations of police-related violence. The foundation of this Note is rooted in the recognition that attendant issues of power are necessarily bound up in any discussion of interactions between marginalized communities and actors of state-backed power. Therefore, the focus on police violence in marginalized urban communities necessitates an awareness and engagement of the discourses of power, both between individuals and social systems.
Recommended CitationHannah Walker, Unspoken Immunity and Reimagined Justice: The Potential for Implementing Restorative Justice and Community Justice Models in Police-related Shootings, 37 Pace L. Rev. 789 (2017)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol37/iss2/10