Over the last month the United States has seen a remarkable series of protests against police racism and brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and an extended history of police violence against African-Americans and other minorities. Discriminatory police violence is not unique to the United States. Throughout the Americas countries with varied histories of slavery, racial and ethnic discrimination, and authoritarian policing practices, experience high levels of police abuse and killings. To offer one example, in Brazil police killed around six thousand people in 2018, nearly ten times the rate of such murders in the United States. These killings disproportionately affect poor young Afro-Brazilian men. Brazil’s story of police violence is unusual in its raw numbers but is by no means unique in the region where many countries have an extended and entrenched history of police violence.
This panel discusses practices of police violence against disadvantaged social groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. The panel will discuss police violence in the region in comparative perspective seeking to understand the similarities and difference in police violence between Latin America and the Caribbean and the United States. The panel will also address responses to police violence in Latin America and the Caribbean and what we can learn in the United States from those responses.
The event brings together two scholars, Lilian Bobea and Yanilda Gonzalez, with extensive experience studying and analyzing policing and police violence across Latin America and the Caribbean. The program will be moderated by Enrique Desmond Arias, Marxe Chair of Western Hemisphere Affairs at Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.