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The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes and Racism in America's Law Enforcement and the Search for Change

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  87 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Veteran police officer and CNN law enforcement analyst Matthew Horace offers an unforgettable account of the racism, bigotry, and colorlines that permeate America's law enforcement culture, institution, and system, and lays out a blueprint for change.

Matthew Horace was a police officer for 28 years in every state in the country. Yet it was after seven years of service when
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Hachette Books
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Donna Davis
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that care about civil rights in the USA
"Even as a federal agent, I have been on surveillance or supporting an operation and have had an officer approach me and say that the neighbors called about a "suspicious" vehicle, which meant it was a black guy driving a car. I’ve been the man in that suspicious vehicle.”

Matthew Horace worked as a cop at the federal, state, and local level for 28 years, and he is plenty sick of the “toxic brotherhood.” The quote above refers to an incident that occurred in Mill Creek, a (very white) suburb outs
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
An extremely thought-provoking book and one that deserves wider notice. I hope people won't dismiss it as "anti-cop" because it was FAR from that. The author has 28 years experience as a black man in law enforcement and clearly identifies as a cop, proud of the profession but respectful of the challenges of police work, which is hard, frustrating, and physically dangerous. At the same time he acknowledges that racism is endemic to the profession, and that black men are commonly seen as “the enem ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Missing Two Very Important Words. In this book by former high ranking ATF agent Matthew Horace, we get an inside look at the problems and perils of policing in America through the eyes of a man who is both black and blue.

The book overall was very surprising to me, as I happen to be a former leader in the Cop Block movement, who has been active in fighting police brutality since a few years before anyone had ever heard of Michael Brown or Black Lives Matter (the organization). It was surprising i
Zoe's Human
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
What is life like in a black body behind the thin blue line? What does one see from there?

Matthew Horace is a law enforcement veteran with 28 years of experience at federal, state, and local levels. In The Black and the Blue, he examines the toxic aspects of police culture—the racism, the sexism, the "code of silence"—that allow brutality to flourish. I was most impressed at his willingness to openly confess to his own culpability within the system and his regret for the same. He looks not only
Elle Spaulding
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Yes, a lot has changed. And change is good, but it’s not necessarily progress. If black men & women continue to die disproportionately at the hands of police, as they have over the past few years, we haven’t made progress. If the relationship between communities of color & law enforcement remains as toxic as ever, we haven’t made progress....”

This is a must read. To anyone and everyone.

“Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. EVERYBODY CAN DO SOMETHING.”
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This is an important read told from a perspective frequently ignored - the black police officer. It is also crucial to our understanding of the intersection of policing with institutional and individual racism. The Black and the Blue should be required reading for everyone working in the criminal justice system. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
David Bales
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Anyone who believes there isn't an implicit bias in American culture that manifests itself into violence committed by police officers against black people needs to read this book. Matthew Horace is a former police officer and ATF agent who relates case after case of horrific treatment of people by the police and courts, but finds some room for hope.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
First of all, thank you to the author for writing this much needed book and the publisher for publishing it. This book is a must read. If anyone thinks that there is no difference between arrest/shootings of people of color, if this book does not have you look at things differently,something is wrong. Precise, clear writing with statistics and first hand thoughts on various encounters between African American people and police officers. It is scary in this day and time that this goes on, but it ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review is crossposted at my website,

I work with children with physical and mental differences. The place I work at is stocked with a variety of toys. One of the toys we have are a police car that makes a siren sound whenever a button is pressed.

Almost every child that comes recognizes this vehicle. Some can say “police car!” Some, if their mental capabilities are high enough, will enact play schemes with the police car and another vehicle where the cops catch a bad guy.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Matthew Horace is a black man with a lifetime of experience in law enforcement who has come out on the side of Black Lives Matter and the need to change the culture of law enforcement and the training of officers. If you have any doubts that black men, women, and children are treated differently by law enforcement, this book will change your mind. We must understand the problem to demand the necessary changes to ensure police officers are treating everyone as human beings and using de-escalation ...more
Kyle Farris
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
In the midst of all the controversy of NFL kneeling, Black Lives Matter, and President Trump's twitter-happy fingers, this is an absolutely fantastic read. It's so important that white people gain some exposure on the day-to-day lives of people of color, and Matthew Horace is a great source for it. As a cop who is black, he has loyalties to the badge as well as his community/culture, and he does a remarkable job to honor both throughout the book. By sharing stories and statistics of police invol ...more
Thank you Net Gallery for an advanced copy of The Black and the Blue by Matthew Horace.

This is a great book, it follows police brutality from the prospective of a black man. The part about shootings and harassment back in the day by white men to black men doesn't surprise me it's knowing it's still going on. In this book we learn more about police abuse particularly to black officers, the many shootings of young black men like Michael Brown etc. Black Lives Matter. I really didn't know there was
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley for my copy of this book. The Black and The Blue was really interesting and reflected back on past incidentsnand crimes and lifes unfortunately lost in police hands . It was very interesting seeing police work through the eyes of a blackman. The stereo type that police officers already get , but being we see that a person of color is difficult on both sides.; In or out of uniform.. People often see black males as dangeous , often fearful of them. What difference is a white ma ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
PLEASE, please read this incredible book. I am sad and shocked that it has not received more notice or publicity. Mr. Horace writes with such honesty and makes one realize there is a huge difference in how policing has been done when it involves people of color. I am not one to bury me head nor do I live in a bubble so yes, I was aware that scary things went on within police departments in many areas; but, never ever did I image situations (i.e Chicago, New Orleans & other cities) that wer
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

3.5 stars rounded up.

Pretty good overview of the current situation between law enforcement and African Americans (or just really society as a whole). Horace goes through recent cases of unarmed citizens being shot by police.

It's also part memoir of Horace as he details events from his past in law enforcement. Things he did right. Things he did wrong (and admits to them). But these events are within a larger overall
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this discussion of policing and race. As a longtime cop himself, the author appreciates the jobs cops do and realizes how hard it is; he has sympathy for that. But his discussion of the obvious race problems in policing is wide-ranging, encompassing his own stories and many of the stories behind the "headline" problems. He discusses how hard it is to change a department culture, and the problems that can occur. He has sections from a wide range of OTHER police officers, from norma ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Matthew Horace, a law enforcement officer (local and federal) for twenty-eight years, dissects some of the nation's most highly publicized police shootings while providing analysis of issues which contribute to the disproportionate number of black men killed by police and incarcerated. He includes information about the details behind these shootings that the general public may not have known. I found this book interesting, disturbing and educational. ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for everyone. Issues including homelessness, mental illness, poverty, lack of education and unemployment are all examined as factors that affect the trends of crime within communities and the quality of life for individuals. The author closely examines the biases present in our nation’s way of policing citizens and the factors that contribute to violence and corruption on police forces. The author has suggestions for solutions, so it’s not all doom and gloom. ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written by a black law enforcement officer with decades of experience, The Black and the Blue weaves case studies, statistics, and personal experiences into a fascinating and maddening account of police violence and harassment of the black community. Anyone who questions the Black Lives Matter movement or the difficulty of a cop’s day-to-day responsibilities should check this out for a well-rounded perspective.
Ben Krutko
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
While the book offers detailed descriptions of the cases of Michael Brown and Ferguson and provides some nuanced analysis on the war on drugs - it falls short of presenting comprehensive steps towards police and justice reform. It isn't enough to describe the Ferguson ticket scheme without also addressing the federal and state tax policies that created it or address the ongoing civil forfeiture crisis.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding read that should be required in all police academies. While I am not a LEO, I do understand the basics of our criminal justice system. It's not surprising to learn that that system unfairly targets black people and other minorities. This isn't a book that bashes policing, but spotlights mistakes that were made and how to avoid them in the future.
Blaine Morrow
Horace gives credible and often first-hand evidence of police bias, tempered by his own respect for and membership in the law enforcement club. He offers several first-hand accounts from other cops, convincing statistics, and some in-depth reporting of corrupt and unjust practices in Ferguson, New Orleans, and Chicago.
Monika Larsson
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audio book! Great representation on the prevalence of systemic racism in the United States. Centuries of inequalities and disparities, black police officer Matthew Horace provides a narrative of personal experiences and those of other African Americans.
Tony Mistretta
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well researched documentary about the racial injustice that has existed for years in our inner cities, and how law enforcement plays a major role in making it worse or better. Well written, eye-opening stories by a black man who has served in many capacities in law enforcement agencies.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Change is good, but it's not necessarily progress."
Jan Stone
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tough to read, but worth it.
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“When I was on the police department in Virginia, I was often dispatch the calls of a “suspicious black male” and, in response, I would ask via the radio, “What is he doing?” My question was simple. Just what is he doing that makes him suspicious, other than being a black male? Generally, when I did this, my mostly white fellow officers would key the radio microphone to make a clicking sound in a show of sarcastic disapproval at my question, and a supervisor might call me to ensure that I was responding to the call. Most times these calls involved nothing more than a black man waiting for a bus; he was just waiting for the bus in the “wrong” neighborhood. Another time, a black guy was passing out flyers. Another time, a kid and his girlfriend had a tryst planned in a secret meeting place during the day. It was always innocuous stuff. It’s not that we shouldn’t investigate “suspicious” people, but what makes them suspicious?” 0 likes
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