“Overall, black drivers are nearly three times more likely than whites to be subjected to investigatory stops,” write University of Kansas Professors Charles R. Epp and Steven Maynard-Moody in an article for Washington Monthly. Their award-winning book Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship, co-written with Professor Donald P. Haider-Markel, collates and examines research on institutional racial profiling in police work. Epp will be speaking at EMU’s MainStage Theater on Monday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m.
Epp is a political scientist in the University of Kansas’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, whose bibliography includes The Rights Revolution: Lawyers, Activists, and Supreme Courts in Comparative Perspective, the second most-cited work in its field written since 1990. At EMU, he will be presenting “The Police and Racial Discrimination in Amercia” as part of the Albert N. Keim Lecture Series.
Pulled Over will formally receive the American Society for Public Administration’s “2015 Best Book Award from the Section on Public Administration Research” award at the organization’s conference in March this year. In the context of post-Ferguson America, academia had become increasingly interested in the discourse on modern, systemic racism, thus bringing attention to the work of Epp and his colleagues. Epp both relates the individual stories of police discrimination and decries the widespread effect of policies that allow this conduct.
“Pervasive, ongoing suspicious inquiry sends the unmistakable message that the targets of this inquiry look like criminals: they are second-class citizens,” states the Washington Monthly article. “While investigatory stops do enable police to find some lawbreakers and get them off the streets, they also undermine the minority community’s trust in law enforcement and thereby its willingness to share information vital to good police work.”
A talkback will follow the lecture at 6 p.m. in Common Grounds. Epp will be joined by Officer Chris Monahan of the Harrisonburg City Police Department in answering questions and facilitating discussion. The talk-back, co-sponsored by the Black Student Union, invites the community to come hear, share, and process stories of being pulled over, as well as their societal implications.