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Why are American cops so violent? (pt 2), with police captain James Mitchell

Second interview of recently retired police captain James Mitchell (first episode link). We continue tackling the question: when we see an American cop doing something that seems clearly over-reactive and overly violent, what are the factors that influenced that cop to behave that way? In our first talk, our focus was on mental health and de-escalation. In this interview, we talk about a broader range of topics, including:

  • Role that our huge number of guns may play
  • Racism (past vs current, and systemic racism vs racism of individuals)
  • James’ experience with racist cops and how that manifested
  • How cops are seldom convicted by juries, and how that has trickle-down effects
  • Role of police unions
  • Role that living in the neighborhood a cop polices can play

Also discussed is how our polarization and animosity around police issues fits into our polarization on other topics. See the bottom of this post for other topics and resources. Podcast links:

Other topics discussed include:

  • How the language that people use to people talk about “racism” can muddy waters (e.g., conflating racism of individuals with systemic racism, or conflating effects of past racism with current systemic racism)
  • War on drugs
  • No-knock warrants and why they may sometimes be justified

Related resources: