In much of America, it’s more dangerous to be policed than to be a police officer

When he spoke to civic or church groups about the law and policing, the late Johnnie Cochran often would pose this question: “Who do you think is the most powerful person in the criminal justice system?” Inevitably, most people would respond, “the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.” “Wrong,” Johnnie would respond. “The most powerful single person in the entire criminal justice system is the cop on the street, because only he has the power to summarily execute you—and get away with it.” In the months since Ferguson, I’ve thought a great deal about Johnnie’s question and about his views on abusive ...