In 2001, Cincinnati police killed a 19-year-old Black man named Timothy Thomas, sparking an uprising that shook the city for four days. 19 years later, in the city of Minneapolis, local police officers killed George Floyd over an alleged counterfeit bill, catalyzing a nationwide rebellion. Much of the discourse surrounding racist police killings have focused on perceived flaws within the institution of policing itself, but explanations for the consistency and pervasiveness of police violence cannot be found within police departments alone. Police operate within a system of race and class-based segregation, wherein Black, Indigenous, and migrant poor people are rendered surplus populations marked for the extraction of revenues by the state in the form of fines and fees. The lives of George Floyd and Timothy Thomas themselves exemplify this in cruel relief. TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez interviews historian Robin D. G. Kelley on the links between police killings and the system of racial capitalism. This interview took place shortly before Kelley’s delivery of the 2023 George Floyd Memorial Lecture at the University of Houston.
Production: Nelly Cardoso, Michael Ma
Post-Production: Michael Ma
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