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Police Violence, Race, & Transforming the Criminal Legal System

July 21 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm MDT

This is a photo of Dr. Jennifer Cobina standing with her arms crossed and smiling.

UCJC Dare to Care: The Utah Criminal Justice Center presents a series of conversations and a challenge: to reject apathy or silence and to “dare to care.” During this free webinar, Dr. Jennifer Cobbina, associate professor at the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, will present the scholarship from her book, Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Why Protests in Ferguson and Baltimore Matter and How They Changed America followed by a panel discussion.

About the Book

Following the high-profile deaths of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, both cities erupted in protest over the unjustified homicides of unarmed black males at the hands of police officers. These local tragedies―and the protests surrounding them―assumed national significance, igniting fierce debate about the fairness and efficacy of the American criminal justice system. Yet, outside the gaze of mainstream attention, how do local residents and protestors in Ferguson and Baltimore understand their own experiences with race, place, and policing?

In Hands Up, Don’t Shoot, Jennifer Cobbina draws on in-depth interviews with nearly two hundred residents of Ferguson and Baltimore, conducted within two months of the deaths of Brown and Gray. She examines how protestors in both cities understood their experiences with the police, how those experiences influenced their perceptions of policing, what galvanized Black Lives Matter as a social movement, and how policing tactics during demonstrations influenced subsequent mobilization decisions among protesters. Ultimately, she humanizes people’s deep and abiding anger, underscoring how a movement emerged to denounce both racial biases by police and the broader economic and social system that has stacked the deck against young black civilians.

About the Author

Jennifer Cobbina is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She received her PhD in criminal justice at the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2009. Dr. Cobbina’s areas of expertise center on police-community relations, youth violence, and concentrated neighborhood disadvantage, with a special focus on the experiences of minority youth and the impact of race, class, and gender on criminal justice practices.  Her research also focuses on corrections, prisoner reentry and the understanding of recidivism and desistance from crime.



Utah Criminal Justice Center

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