CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, January 14, 2022

Parks on Martial Arts and Racialized Police Violence

Gregory Scott Parks (Wake Forest University - School of Law) has posted Martial Arts as a Remedy for Racialized Police Violence on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Over half a decade ago, law professor Cynthia Lee offered an intriguing argument in an article titled "Race, Policing, and Lethal Force: Remedying Shooter Bias with Martial Arts Training." In short, Professor Lee argued that if law enforcement had martial arts training, they would be less likely to incorrectly assume that Black suspects are armed, when they are not, and shoot them. Since the time of her article, police killings of unarmed and nonthreatening Blacks has persisted, resulting in a national outcry. In this article, I revisit Professor Lee’s argument in a more nuanced manner. First, I contend that police’s racialized fear emerges in a variety of ways and manifests itself in a number of ways, including—but not limited to—shootings. Second, I contend that one way for police to deal with this racialized fear and to more effectively, and less lethally, subdue and arrest suspects is not simply through the use of martial arts. Rather, it is via certain types of martial arts, namely those that do not require striking; instead, those that employ takedown techniques, joint manipulation, and nonlethal holds. I offer Brazilian jujitsu (“BJJ”) as an example.

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