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A Feminist Critique of Police Stops


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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Bye, Bye Bill of Rights: 1. Waive your rights: that's how stops and frisks were meant to work; 2. The most dangerous right: walking away from an officer; 3. Consenting to searches: what we can learn from feminist critiques of sexual assault laws; 4. Punishing disrespect: no free speech allowed here; 5. Beyond Miranda's reach: how stop-and-frisk undermines the right to silence; Part II. The Fallout: 6. The frisk: 'injuries to manhood' and to womanhood; 7. Invisible scars: Terry's psychological toll; 8. High court camouflage: how the Supreme Court hides police aggression and racial animus.

Promotional Information

If you've dreamed of walking free of sexual harassment, you will understand why it's time to end stop-and-frisk policing.

About the Author

Josephine Ross is a professor of law at Howard University School of Law, Washington DC. She was a public defender in Massachusetts for seven years, then served as an interim executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders before beginning a teaching career at Boston College Law School. She has published numerous law review articles, first on marriage equality and then on topics involving criminal (in)justice. For two decades, she supervised law students in the criminal trial courts of Boston and Washington, DC.


'Josephine Ross has blessed us with a highly readable and spot-on account of stop and frisk from the perspective of its survivors. A Feminist Critique of Police Stops is a provocative mash up in which #metoo meets #blacklivesmatter and makes the world a better place.' Paul Butler, Georgetown University Law Center, author of Chokehold: Policing Black Men
'A compelling critique of the indignities of routine police stops. Using feminist principles such as the need for bodily integrity and consent, Ross exposes how the criminal justice system weakens the constitutional rights of all of us.' Naomi Cahn, The George Washington University Law School and co-author of Shafted: The Fate of Women in a Winner-Take-All World and Red Families v. Blue Families
'Josephine Ross has written a book that is stunning in its originality in applying the principles of feminist theory to the issues of policing and especially the law of stop and frisk. Through many interviews, Ross is able to show what police actually do and the harms it causes. She offers great ideas for changing the law.' Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, and author of We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century
'A Feminist Critique of Police Stops is a critical book for these times.' Michele Goodwin, UC Irvine School of Law and author of Policing the Womb
'This compelling examination of how law distorts the reality of police stops and frisks is essential reading for anyone interested in restoring the integrity of our Bill of Rights.' Benjamin Todd Jealous, civil rights leader and former head of the NAACP
'What if every young person of color knew, when stopped by police, to say (and to believe), 'With all respect, I do not consent to searches?' Read this book to imagine a different and better world.' Martha Minow, Harvard University, and author of When Should Law Forgive?
'As someone who advocates for intersectional approaches to equity, I was moved by Josephine Ross's recognition of how our current system of policing further marginalizes already underrepresented communities. Her thoughtful analysis uses a feminist framework to skillfully carve a path forward.' Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

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