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"Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights"

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Aired on Wednesday, September 22nd.

Police officers in the U.S. are nine times more likely to kill African-American men than they are any other group of citizens. A tragic statistic, to be sure, but also -- given so many recent events -- a statistic that many won't find very surprising. How police forces across the nation relate to matters of racism, civil rights, and race relations are now coming under close scrutiny. But what about the role of the courts in this issue? On today's edition of ST, we discuss a new book that draws on civil rights history as well as legal history in order to argue that the Supreme Court has, through various rulings over the past several decades, effectively enabled racist policing and sanctioned law enforcement excesses. Our guest is Erwin Chemerinsky, a prolific author who's also the dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. As The New York Times Book Review has noted of Chemerinsky's book: "Stunning.... A damning indictment of the Supreme Court.... As Chemerinsky declares, the court's record 'from 1986 through the present and likely for years to come, can easily be summarized: The police almost always win....' Aside from the fact that he writes well, Chemerinsky...is also an experienced advocate, having appeared before the court on many occasions, and also having served as a consultant to those police forces who either by choice or necessity have tried to overhaul their practices.... Whether the furor unleashed by Black Lives Matter will lead to state and city governments reforming their police departments is yet to be seen, but all lawmakers, in fact all concerned citizens, need to read this book. It is an eloquent and damning indictment not only of horrific police practices, but also of the justices who condoned them and continue to do so."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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