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In a January 28, 2023 article in The Guardian, Simon Balto F’20 responds to the murder of Tyre Nichols by police officers in Memphis, focusing on how police violence is inherent to the institution of policing. Recalling the 2020 murder of George Floyd, he writes about the lack of change in systems of policing and punishment in the United States.

A majority of Americans have resigned themselves to accepting policing as it currently exists, and thus irretrievably accepting police violence as it currently exists; one cannot accept the former without the latter. And that is a sad comment on our national political imaginary, collective will, and commitments to one another.

Balto is the College of Letters and Science Mary Herman Rubinstein Professor of History at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. He was awarded a 2020 ACLS Fellowship for the project “Racial Framing: Blackfaced Criminals in Jim Crow America.”