Prof. Zeidman on the Trouble with ‘Broken Windows’ Policing

August 14, 2014 | CUNY School of Law

On Thursday, Professor Steve Zeidman was a guest on NPR’s On Point discussing the recent deaths of civilians at the hands of the police.

In reference to the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri; the James Boyd case in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the Eric Garner case in New York, Zeidman says “it forces the country to recognize that different neighborhoods…are being policed differently. And in particular in New York City, with this idea of ‘broken windows’ policing, quality of life policing, you unleash police officers into certain zip codes, primarily black and Latino neighborhoods, with a mandate to maintain order. And it’s a recipe for disaster.”

He continues, “What we’ve been learning more and more is who bears the brunt of this strategy of policing. And the numbers are [that] close to 90 percent of the people who get arrested for these quality of life, incredibly trivial offenses are people of color.”

Listen to the entire On Point segment.

Steve Zeidman is a professor and director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at CUNY Law. He advocates on behalf of indigent defendants in many venues, including as a member of the Indigent Defense Organization Oversight Committee. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of Prisoners’ Legal Services and has also served on several statewide commissions, including the Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services and the Jury Project.