Policing marginalized communities

This past semester, Quattrone Center fellow Anjelica Hendricks engaged students in the study of how policing intersects with race, gender, ability, and other intertwined socioeconomic identities.

“We cannot understand our legal system here in America without understanding its impact on race,” says Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice research fellow Anjelica Hendricks.

Anjelica Hendricks.
Penn Carey Law’s Anjelica Hendricks. (Image: Penn Law News)

In her trailblazing new course “Policing Marginalized Communities,” Hendricks poses questions such as: To whom do police forces answer? What is considered criminal activity? Who is involved in determining whether police activity constitutes misconduct?

Throughout the semester, students in the course address these crucial intersections by looking at policing as an institution through intentionally marginalization-conscious and historical lenses. Course discussions delve deeply into the origins of policing and connect that history to contemporary policing policies, encouraging students to develop critical understandings of how policing functions in society today.

“Policing is an institution that predates our U.S. Constitution, and because so, our laws and courts for decades have ignored policing practices,” Hendricks says. “What this seminar is really going to be able to explore is that history of policing—and how those policing practices can be reflected in modern policing practices.”

Throughout the semester, students read over 30 different texts, including Supreme Court case briefs, policy reports, scholarship, and books, to explore the law as it relates to marginalized communities and policing. In addition to a focus on how racial minorities are and have historically been policed, these texts also examine the policing of poor people, individuals who live in public housing, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and migrant and migrant-adjacent communities.

“Unfortunately, our Supreme Court opinions don’t usually address marginalization, race, and gender within their text as it relates to policing, so this seminar seeks to fill in those gaps,” Hendricks says.

Read more at Penn Law News.