Policing Communities of Color Across Space and Place
Saturday, June 4th 2:45-4:30PM
NOLA Marriott Balcony M (4th floor)
The widespread protests that followed the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland in 2015 capture the controversial nature of policing in ethnically and racially marginalized communities, in the United States and abroad. These panels bring together scholars in the emerging subfield of “critical police studies.” CPS scholars use qualitative methods and draw on a range of data sources to interrogate the past and present role of police in U.S. society, and critically examine the dynamics of race and class in the administration of law enforcement. We seek to interrogate the role police play in maintaining a system of racialized oppression in cooperation with formal and informal institutions. We examine the historical and ongoing processes of racialization; how police have become a core, even dominant, element of local government; police violence in urban areas; and how police and the criminal justice system have created and maintained a dense network of surveillance and punishment around communities of color that has direct implications for the ongoing problem of racially disparate criminal justice outcomes in the U.S. Using a variety of methods, including ethnographic interviews, these panels explore both practically and theoretically the complexities of state sponsored policing in several different communities of color. Panelists draw from rich data sources from residents’ interviews in a wide variety of communities: Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Bloomington, Indiana: Los Angeles, California and São Paulo’s, Brazil. Particular attention will be paid to the structural roots of the disparities in the policing of minorities.
Chair, Discussant: Luis Daniel Gascón, University of San Francisco
Papers: Jeannine Bell, Daanika Gordon, Analicia Mejia Mesinas, Samuel Prieto, Sebastian Sclofsky
Mining the (trust) gap: Africans Americans, Whites, Nonwhites and the Police
Jeannine Bell, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
The starkly different views of the criminal justice system by Black and White Americans were laid bare in the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri after a White police officer, Darren Wilson, shot to death an unarmed man, Michael Brown, on August 9, 2014. A nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center taken a few days after Brown’s shooting revealed sharp racial divisions in reactions. According to the PEW poll, more than half (52 %) of whites surveyed had a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in the investigation by the police. By contrast, approximately three-quarters of blacks (76%) had little or no confidence in the investigations. Though it is tempting to treat African Americans’ views of police in the wake of Ferguson as episodic, there is abundant evidence to the contrary. President Obama and others refer to the drastic difference in public opinion between blacks and whites’ views of the police a “trust gap.” Rather than being an isolated affair, the gap in trust between African-Americans and whites is both persistent and long-standing. Various surveys have been conducted over the years regarding the attitude that American citizens have towards law enforcement. These early studies revealed that a number of factors affect perceptions of police officers, including economic status, community, and education levels. No matter what type of survey was conducted, African Americans still ranked police officers lower on their scales of trust. Why the trust gap matters Not trusting the police has a host of disturbing consequences, not just for those who distrust the police, but for American society as a whole. Lack of trust in the police means that citizens do not see officers as legitimate. Individuals who do not trust the police are less likely to rely on police for critical services and also less likely to help police investigate crime. Tom Tyler’s work also suggests that decreased legitimacy of the police also increased the individuals’ willingness to engage in criminal activities. Thus, lack of trust of the police may lead to increases in crime. There are other human costs as well. Individuals who don’t trust the police are more likely to respond out of fear when they encounter police. In Baltimore, Freddie Gray caught the attention of the police and died as a result of responding in fear when he made eye contact with a police lieutenant on the street. Individuals who fear the police may refuse to comply with police orders during traffic stops. A. The paradox of the trust gap Police violence and African American mistrust of the police co-exist with African American representation on police forces, and African American political representation in local, state and national government. Mutual mistrust of the police may be more understandable in poor locales where police forces have focused their approach to proactive policing. The evidence mistrust of the police among middle class Americans is mixed. First, some survey data shows middle class African Americans more tolerant of the police than are disadvantaged African Americans while other studies have reached the opposite conclusion. (Alpert and Weitzer et al .2008; Hagan and Albonetti 1982; Smith, Graham, and Adams 1991; Weitzer and Tuch 1999, 2002; Wortley, Hagan, and Macmillan 1997). Though class matters for one’s life chances, it is not clear that it matters in police treatment of African Americans. Police interactions are a dialectic. If police treat African Americans with suspicion (and there is plenty of social psychological evidence suggest why they might), the encounters between African Americans and police are likely to lead to mistrust. Officers’ behavior in high crime, disadvantaged neighborhoods is more likely to include more humiliating street stops, more aggressive behavior and greater use of force. (Fagan and Davies 2000; Kane 2002; Mastrofski et al. 2002; Smith 1986; Terrill and Reisig 2003) At the same time, there is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that police officers are not sensitive to class, and treat upper middle class African Americans (e.g. Henry Louis Gates) with disrespect. B. Explaining the trust gap Identifying a difference between Black and White responses in polls does not provide an explanation that sheds adequate light on the trust gap. Consent decrees and other legal remedies have had little effect on issues of public trust. This paper will present result from interviews which explore the roots of the differences in public opinion between blacks and whites regarding their treatment by the police. In doing so, this paper endeavors to explicate the difficult question at the heart of public policy and civil rights law in this area: Are there ways to bridge the trust gap while at the same time holding police accountable for behaviors that violate the law? My paper endeavors to disentangle the trust gap by focusing on the experience of middle class African Americans and comparing them with whites and those of other races who represent a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. After a discussion of the public opinion evidence for the trust gap, the paper details traditional explanations for the gap-discriminatory policing and law enforcement officers’ biases. The paper also addresses the importance of socio-economic status in the policing of African Americans. The paper asks how police construct racial meaning when dealing with African Americans. I do this by focusing on circumstances in which the African-American population being policed is not overwhelmingly poor. This paper is based primarily on interviews with three types of respondents: African American residents of Bloomington, Indiana; White and finally non-White residents of Bloomington, Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana was selected in part because of the researcher’s wide contacts in the area. The area contains a high percentage of middle-class and upper-middle-class residents who work for the largest employer in the town, Indiana University, Bloomington. The paper closes with a quick discussion and evaluation of the legal and social remedies best suited to closing this critical gap.
Policing the Segregated City: (Post) Racial Ideologies and the Regulation of Urban Space
Daanika Gordon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Policing is at the center of debates over the contemporary significance of race as a foundational axis of social organization. In spite of myriad colorblind or post-racial assertions that hold that race is no longer a meaningful determinate of life chances (Bonilla-Silva 2003; Winant 2009), urban police departments operate within symbolic and material realms that suggest that race continues to be of fundamental importance. Most notably, the police are embedded in a material landscape of racial inequality, reflected in continuing patterns of segregation. While the police have historically been instrumental in maintaining segregation through enforcing the laws attendant to racist institutions such as slavery, the Black Codes, Jim Crow, and racial covenants, understanding the current role of the police in projects of racial and spatial subordination is complicated by the supposed eradication of legally sanctioned discrimination (Bass 2001; Williams and Murphy 1990). I suggest that we can better understand the relationship between the police and racial inequality in the city by exploring the subtle ways in which racial ideologies operate as organizing principles in the work of the police. This project thus asks: what racial ideologies do the police draw upon as they navigate a landscape of obvious racial inequality? How do these ideologies manifest in on-the-ground policing practices that aim to regulate space? I explore these questions through a year of ethnographic observation, primarily consisting of ride-a-longs, in two police districts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee is an empirically valuable site as one of the country’s most segregated cities. Racial inequality is overt; dynamics within Milwaukee contribute substantially to Wisconsin’s vast disparities between whites and African Americans across measures such as labor force participation, median household income, poverty rate, high school completion, and incarceration (Center on Wisconsin Strategy 2013). I draw on data from approximately 500 hours of observation, completed from August of 2014 through August of 2015, of the Milwaukee police as they worked. Generally, this took the form of ride-a-longs with officers. Though I did not explicitly ask officers about their racial ideologies, riding with an officer for an eight-hour shift often permitted a great deal of talk, which ranged from casual conversation to semi-structured interviewing. Through this, I learned about officers’ career histories, experiences of work, perceptions of social and criminal problems, changes in work over time and compared to other parts of the city, past successes and future aspirations, and current frustrations with the police agency, the media, and the public. I paraphrased much of this conversation in my fieldnotes, which constitute the primary source of data for this project. In addition to analyzing how the police discursively related to segregation and racial inequality, I was attentive to how on the ground practices varied in space and how processes of racial classification entered into police decision-making. I find that, in spite of the discursive and material indications of the significance of race that confront the police regularly, many officers ultimately remain committed to post-racial or colorblind frames that divorce situational dynamics from their structural roots (Bonilla-Silva 2003). They naturalize segregation as a matter of a universal preference to reside amongst coethnics and they attribute divergences in neighborhood conditions to different individual or cultural propensities to participate in social systems that are fundamentally post-racial and meritocratic in nature. This colorblind ideology attaches constructs of deservingness and empowerment to technically non-racial status characteristics: whether a resident has a job, or is a taxpayer, or a recipient of state aid. Police personnel make little effort to interrogate the structural origins of patterned overlap between these statuses and racial group membership. When confronted with assertions of racial discrimination, the taken-for-granted nature of segregation allows the police to explain disparities as a matter of their work environments and happenstance – officers in a predominately black districts are not targeting black residents when they make stops or arrests; it just so happens that the vast majority of the people they encounter are black. This logic takes no account of how policing priorities and practices in communities of color and white communities can fundamentally diverge based on institutional priorities. And, despite assertions that race doesn’t matter, the police actively participate in the maintenance of segregated spaces. They suggest that it is important to preserve the integrity of specific kinds of places in the city, most notably the downtown business district and entertainment corridor. These spaces are seen as integral to the health of the city as a whole and they are thought to be threatened by potential violence, property crime, and harassment. While these threats are tied to constructs of class, they are ultimately linked to constructs that spatial and racial in nature. The police are vigilant when “people from the ghetto” or, more broadly, just “the ghetto,” crosses segregation boundaries to utilize downtown amenities. African Americans are thus subject to greater degrees of scrutiny when entering predominately white spaces. While the police may rarely initiate an encounter with a citizen based on race alone, often waiting to observe behavioral dynamics, apparent race becomes the first indicator of a source of potential threat. The relationship of the police to structures of racial inequality is rife with contradictions. On the one hand, police personnel deny the existence of structural or institutional racism and declare race irrelevant to their work. On the other, they actively draw on race as a meaningful indicator of criminal propensity and participate in the regulation of racialized spaces. These contradictions are facilitated by post-racial discourses that naturalize residential segregation, allowing the police to set priorities in relation to non-racial criteria such as economic conditions, land use, and crime patterns. While the police continue to play a fundamental role in the production of urban racial inequality, through practices that both maintain segregation boundaries and constitute the nature of segregated spaces, potential interventions must confront the denial of race a salient structure in the social organization of police work.
Student Mobilization—Building a Youth Centered Critique of Police in Schools
Analicia Mejia Mesinas, University of California, Irvine
This paper begins to examine the ways in which Black and Latino students experience, understand, and mobilize against the growing use of police in American public schools. The preliminary research presented in this paper is part of a larger ethnographic dissertation project which follows the work of community activists in Southern California, and the growing movement against the militarization of police in schools. In schools, the incorporation of zero tolerance policies, use of police, and other technologies of the criminal justice system-alongside the unparalleled growth of America’s prison system- has sparked new conversations around school climate, educational outcomes, and school criminalization. It is not uncommon for police officers, or school resource officers, to permanently occupy authority and space within American public schools. As a result, student misbehavior now commonly triggers contact with a school police officer, which also often leads to citation and/or arrest in school. Given the growing focus on schools policies, practices, and outcomes in both academic and educational reform arenas, this paper seeks to explore the following questions: What is the public school experience like for a non-white student of color today?; How do students understand and make sense of these policies?; What do students find to be problematic about these practices?; How do students mobilize against these policies?; How do these practices interact with the ways in which students also see themselves? To answer these questions, the current paper will present results from six months of preliminary ethnographic field work conducted for the larger dissertation project. Field work consists of participant observations at a local grassroots and activist community organization, in Southern California. The goal of the community organization is to work within the larger community to bring awareness to, and advocate for, current pressing community issues. The organization has a long history of working and organizing with local high school students in order to advocate for change and reform within schools. The current campaign of the organization is focused specifically around the increased use of police in schools, the growing budget of the local school police department, and the school police’s acquisition of military-grade weapons from the Federal 1033 program. Previous work has documented the ways in which school disciplinary policies and practices subjugate students to a variety of experiences that symbolically, and often overtly, treat students like criminals. Importantly, activists and scholars have called attention to the formal, and informal, ways in which Black and Latino students have become disproportionately affected by these policies. Parallel to current discussions of race and punishment within society at large, this paper argues that interrogations of race must also be central to exploring student experiences in schools. Through preliminary ethnographic work with Black and Latino high school student organizers, including participant observations at “Taking Action” club meetings and semi-structured interviews, the paper also seeks to uncover the anti-black logic deeply integrated within school policing, school discipline and school punishment (Wun 2014). My participant observations followed the activities of the organization with lead staff and student organizers. To do this I became an official volunteer for the organization and worked in the office of the organization on a weekly basis. While in the office I primarily assisted with administrative tasks, which allowed for strong rapport to develop with key organizational staff members. In addition, I shadowed lead staff organizers and followed their leadership in organizing with students directly in the schools. This student organizing took place across five local high schools in Southern California through “Taking Action” campus clubs. These clubs met once a week during lunch and after school, at each respective school. At each campus club meeting organizational staff and students came together to discuss, examine, and critique issues around school policing. In addition, clubs worked to develop strategies for community mobilization against growing police in schools, and the militarization of police more generally. Students also worked to organize larger community rallies and protests. These events often took place at schools, within the larger community, and at larger school board district meetings. Finally, students also organized formal meetings with community stakeholders and district board members to advance their perspectives and seek support for their campaign. In addition to organizing, during my participant observations, I was able to talk with students, and listen to their personal stories, perspectives, and opinions. Because of my regular and ongoing visits to each school I was able to get to know each student personally and discuss issues around the current school climate, school police, and race, through both formal and informal conversations with students. Students often discussed sensitive but critical issues around race, violence, and punishment. Conversations with students also revealed deep insight about their understandings of current issues, as well as strategies for change. Despite the growing empirical research on school discipline and punishment, there is much less work that connects school policies and practices to Black and Latino students’ day to day experiences in schools, and student mobilization against these practices. Current qualitative examinations of school discipline do include some observations and interviews with students, yet critical discussion of race and gender are often lacking. In addition, the majority of narratives used to demonstrate school criminalization are of individuals in positions of assigning and enforcing discipline (this includes staff and administrators, school police and security, and teachers), with much less known about subjective student experience. Finally, current work on school security and school criminalization has focused much less on student mobilization and resistance (Monahan and Torres 2010). Because of this, a youth-centered understanding (Morrill et al. 2000) of the complicated ways students experience, understand, and respond to school criminalization is lacking. This paper also utilizes a youth-centered approach to critically examine the criminalization and mobilization of Black and Latino students in schools. This approach, advanced by Morrill et al. (2000) seeks to build a more complete understanding to the lives of young people. Rather than reducing discussions of youth issues to behavior, it explicitly seeks to understand the values, perspectives, and actions of young people. In this way, young people are more than just trouble makers in need of control and order. Rather, they are active agents, with complicated sets of social understandings and values that must be understood.
“The Sense of Law is Lost”: Car Impoundments and the Racial Naturalization of Mexican Immigrants
Samuel Prieto, University of San Diego
R: Because in reality, the Latino is being treated like a child right now, intimidated and punished. If you do something, we will arrest you. And the Latino believes what the police say: they are all going to be taken to jail and ICE will be at the jail. It is like telling them, “If you eat that candy, not only will I punish you, I will hit you.” That is how the have us right now. They say, “If you drive I will arrest you and take you and deliver you to ICE.” Ok? If you don’t cooperate with the police you become a criminal and will be taken and delivered to ICE. “You want that?” “No, we don’t want that.” “Then stay put and behave.” You get me? G: Like a child. R: Yes. I mean they don’t let us do anything. –Edgardo Police represent one of the greatest threats to Mexican immigrants in their daily lives. They readily understand the growing overlap between immigration enforcement and law enforcement that imperils their physical and socioeconomic mobility in the U.S.: a legal and social transformation that scholars refer to as “crimmigration.” This paper examines immigrant interactions with local police as both peace officers and as proxies for a growing deportation regime. It is also about the ways in which police work is about more than strictly enforce law. They participate in the racial naturalization of Mexican immigrants to American hierarchy. As Edgardo demonstrates, Mexican immigrants recognize this eminently social process enacted in these routine interactions. Consequently, I am interested in immigrants’ experience of police as it is situated at the nexus of law and politics. The enforcement of law is always-already the enactment of politics. If we define politics broadly as the contestation of power in any arena, then we can conceptualize policing as more than simply enforcing law on the books, to use the oft-used phrase of Law and Society scholars. Police are inextricably involved in the political work of undermining or reinscribing the social hierarchies of race and class that are both reflected and reproduced in the laws that police are charged with upholding. In this case, the infantilization that Edgardo describes above is about more than the risk of deportation and the humiliation immanent to interactions with police themselves. If, for instance, the message that law enforcement communicates to Mexican immigrants is to “stay put and behave,” then we are certainly talking about more than compliance with the letter of the law. At issue is “racial naturalization” (Carbado 2002, 2005): a kind of naturalization not to formal citizenship, but to U.S. racial hierarchy and the street level processes of subordination required to maintain it. The consequence of immigrants’ recognition of the many excesses of enforcement is that the “sense of law is lost.” Immigrants mistrust the police and, consequently, lose faith in potential for justice that law contains. Drawing on 61 interviews with Mexican immigrants in two California cities and three years of participant observation with one immigrant rights social movement organization, I present a variety of interactions between Mexican immigrants and police. Unsurprisingly, many are negative, though some are resoundingly positive, including in the case of domestic violence. Many of these perspectives were formed not on the basis of direct interaction with police, but through second hand accounts and rumor trafficked across immigrants’ personal networks. Interestingly, even among those immigrants who are most intensely critical of police, they still demonstrate ambivalence about whether police can be trusted. Mistrust is widespread, but they rely on police to respond to crime and in emergency situations. This ambivalence can be read in two ways, both of which, I argue, are simultaneously plausible. On the one hand, mistrust signals the deteriorating relationship between racialized, low-income immigrant communities and police: a pattern that resonates with historical and contemporary relations between African Americans and police. On the other hand, this ambivalence suggests immigrants still basically rely on police as a bulwark against the chaos they fear might reign in the absence of police. Their abiding faith in police as an abstract institution chafes against their first and second hand experiences with actual police in their daily lives. While relations between Mexican immigrants and police are imperiled by the institutionalized practice of the car impoundment and the broader trend toward crimmigration by local police, this ambivalence may also be read as a generative opening-an invitation-to develop effective community-police relations premised on interventions on serious social harms and not immigration violations. Such an expansive view of the role of police in the racialization of Mexican immigrants takes us beyond a narrow consideration of devolution or deportation per se. While I provide examples of both direct experiences with immigration enforcement and police acting, often unwittingly, on their behalf, I focus in particular on the car impoundment as an informal mechanism of immigrant enforcement. While deportation is the most consequential form of immigration enforcement, deportations represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many forms of risk that immigrants confront daily. The car impoundment deserves closer inspection because it is an understudied feature of the immigration enforcement regime, it creates a serious financial burden for immigrant families, and because it constitutes a ritual of humiliation and subordination, of racial naturalization. To return to the excerpt that opens this chapter, Edgardo, originally from Guererro, Mexico, crossed the border without authorization in 2000. After one unsuccessful attempt, he crossed and settled on the largely Mexican westside of South County where he now runs a small party supply company. While he has moved several times within the city, South County was his first and only U.S. destination. Striking about his comment is not simply that he regards police negatively, but he makes a distinction between being “intimidated and punished,” “punished and hit.” The function of police is not simply to address crime but to make sure that immigrants “stay put and behave.” To use Foucault’s (1975) formulation, beyond strictly enforcing law, police inculcate docility in Mexican immigrants in order to sustain their utility as low-wage laborers. This racializing process, the unique vulnerability of undocumented immigrants to law enforcement, is a form of naturalization. Racial naturalization for Mexican immigrants, especially those without documentation, is to be put in one’s place: immigrants tentative incorporation into a segmented American labor market where their social location as mobile laborers and socioeconomically immobile denizens is sustained through street level processes of humiliation and control that mark them as undocumented and as Mexican.
“What are you doing here?” Policing Race, Controlling Space
Sebastian Sclofsky, University of Florida
A simple question, sometimes asked in a very polite tone, means so much to so many people. From the aggressive way in which police officers in São Paulo ask “tu tá fazendo o que aquí?” or the generally polite way in which Los Angeles Police officers ask “what are you doing here?” millions of non-white residents in São Paulo and Los Angeles are taught what their place in the city is. For these non-white residents of low-income communities in São Paulo and Los Angeles, the police are both a source of fear and a central institution in defining their place in society. The regular encounters these residents have with the police, most of them violent, shape their racial, class, spatial and civic identity. Moreover, residents of these communities have learned the hard way, which areas of the city they are excluded from. Both Los Angeles and São Paulo have erected physical and virtual walls that separate the different areas of the city as Caldeira (2000) and Davis (1990) show. From gated communities to hyper securitized condominiums and apartments, these cities have created reserved places in which access depends on class and race. Those marginalized from these spaces gain access to them only to provide services – domestic services generally speaking – in a city that needs them but does not see them. Policing is territorial in its core; it is the assertion of state power in a defined territory, a competence which, while bounded by law, has almost a Hobbesian sense in that, by potentially having the authority of using deadly force, can determine life and dead. However, policing is more than the expression of the sovereign power in a specific territory; it involves direct, even coercive governance on behalf of the community (Seri, 2012); it is about guiding and giving shape to individual and collective behavior. From the outset, Neocleous (2000) reminds us, the police was for the most part concerned not with criminal activity but with activities potentially damaging to communal good order. Yet, “communal good order” does not really represent the democratic collective expression of the people, especially when many are excluded from the definition of “people”. Defining who the “people” are is in many ways a policing activity, determined by the differential ways in which the police act toward different people and in different spaces. When low-income, non-white dwellers of the periphery dare to wander into certain spaces, the police will “teach” them that these areas are out of bounds, defining the place these individuals occupy in society, reminding them that the city is excluded for them. In this sense, understanding the way police discretion is exercised becomes crucial because it defines who is deviant and how deviance is controlled; and, as mentioned above, it dictates who people are and who are not. By defining who the people are, they also define who has rights and who has not. While the level of violence in São Paulo is more intense than in Los Angeles, non-white residents of both cities’ “periphery” share similar experiences with law enforcement that very much define their civic identity. Furthermore, the contrasting way in which policing is conducted in the different neighborhoods constructs spatial identities determining what is the city and what is the “periphery”. In this sense, the police have a strong symbolic power determining spatial and individual identities. Aristotle’s famous expression, which states that only beasts or gods live outside the city, takes real life in today’s police governance; to be excluded from the city means to be excluded from citizenship, and those excluded are definitely not portrayed as gods. The images of the periphery or inner-city ghettoes are one of lawlessness and violence, a place that needs to be under constant surveillance for the threat it poses to the city and to its social order. As Neocleous (2000) contends, policing poverty is regarded as a necessity because of the perceived connection between forms of disorderly behavior and poverty. In his ethnographic study of urban policing in Paris suburbs, French anthropologist Didier Fassin argues that the police and the residents cannot be held solely responsible for the tensions between them; there is a history and a context that defines this encounter. The socio-economic and racial structure that developed in Brazil and the United States defines the context in which police activity takes place. The process of deindustrialization brought by neoliberalism reinforced a class structure that required stronger methods of control. In these neoliberal regimes of control, the police play a crucial role in keeping this marginalized population under surveillance and, as much as possible, invisible to society. Even when residents of these communities move up in the socio-economic scale, encounters with the police will remind them what their place in society is, indicating the important role race plays in the class structure. As orderly as modern society seems to be, it is founded on profound insecurities caused by an economic system that creates “disposable” people who need to be controlled; it is a deliberate effort to maintain individuals and societies in an orderly fashion, recreating through new means the existing economic and racial order (Seri, 2000). Based on in-depth interviews with residents of São Paulo’s periphery and Los Angeles southern neighborhoods, this paper document the ways in which this “educational” performance of the police work and how it defines race, class and space. It shows how freedom of movement, a basic democratic right guaranteed in the Constitution of both countries, has almost no meaning for the millions of black and brown residents of the “periphery”, to the point that many residents have internalized the spatial seclusion imposed through policing. Residents are afraid of venturing into richer or whiter neighborhoods. By exploring this process, this paper contributes to the understanding of the role the police play in constructing identities and governing citizenship, how it poses a serious challenge to democracy, and undermines equal access to and exercise of rights and citizenship.