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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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  640 ratings  ·  120 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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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  640 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Start your review of The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes and Racism in America's Law Enforcement and the Search for Change
The Black And The Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America's Law Enforcement might have been named Black and Blue. What's the difference you say? This book which deals with encounters between Black Americans and our men and women in Blue, (law enforcement officers), sometimes Black or Hispanic but most often White, causes what I can only think of as a bruise, commonly described as a black and blue, one that never fades.

Author Matthew Horace certainly has the credentials
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
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
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
An inside look at the broken system of policing in our country. Very compelling as Matthew Horace builds a strong case by using MANY examples of real life incidents of police brutality and corruption to reveal the different ways in which modern policing isn't working. He also makes a strong case for reform as bad policing is usually less about one or two bad policemen but more often about bad policing policy. As a Black officer himself, he is uniquely qualified to call out the racism he has both ...more
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
dnf @ 57%.

this is probably a useful book if you're a total beginner or you think the problem with police violence is "a few bad apples," but it's not anything you can't read more concisely and with less apologism elsewhere.

for example: horace is like, "black lives matter isn't anti-cop," and then complains about how BLM doesn't, like, single-handedly take down street gangs or whatever (when irl all of the anti-cop advocates i know do incredible community justice work as well). make up your mind.
Elle (literary.ya)
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.”
Apr 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I come to this book from the perspective of "we should dismantle the police."
Although Horace admits policing as an institution is quite flawed, he does not make robust suggestions to fix policing outside of culling corrupt police, implementing better training, and hiring individuals who know what their community looks like.
"On average, each day, one mentally ill or disabled person is killed by a law enforcement officer because these officers are being asked to do a job that they simply cannot a
TJ Wilson
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will hit you hard.

Matthew Horace exudes goodness and equanimity and just immense intellectual and empathetic awesomeness.


This book does a heartbreaking and wonderful job of outlining the state of affairs today with respect to race, policing, crime, and all of the many other factors involved. And he makes a smart case for moving forward.

Ultimately, this book is about understanding the grey area, and that’s what makes it so good.
Jerry Smith
Jul 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: race, 2020-read, crime
I am scared of the police in this country and I am a middle aged white guy. I have long studied the roots, history and manifestation of racism across the World but particularly in the US as I strive, every day, to be an anti-racist.

Amid calls to defund the police and the appalling race baiting that is going on from the White House, it seemed a good idea to turn my attention to the police - specifically the apparent racism and police brutality that is becoming ever more present in the news as the
Deni B
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it

Half of the time I was so angry I could almost justify illegal acts and the rest of the time I was just so sad. Reading about all those young people lost... how could it possibly happen again and again? And it continues.

The talk that some parents must have with their sons-so important and at the same time so wrong. And it’s wrong that if white kids were dying like this things would change quickly. But that is not the America we have now so we must all do what we can to turn this around. Yes, po
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a very interesting read for me. Though I did not always wholeheartedly agree with the officer who wrote the book, I found it interesting to hear a Black cop’s perspective on police brutality. This account does provide additional evidence for why we should defund the police and refund social services. It also provides additional evidence of a system that would be racist, even with 0 racist police officers on the force. Overall, I’m glad I read it, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
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.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A difficult book to read. While the writing is personal and accessible, the content itself is challenging. An insider's look at the racist culture inside America's police force, sharing horrifying and moving perspectives of the brutal killings of many people of color throughout the country. Offers some examples of ways the police departments can improve and change, while also pointing out that it is not just the police, but many levels of government and social services failing communities of col ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't believe the tellings of all these stories, wait, actually I can. After all the things you here in the news this book basically goes deep into what actually is happening. There are very compelling stories from all over the country. There are so many instances where things get out of hand & it is unreal to read about what people go through as well as what they get away with (murder/scandals). The racism among your fellow officers is rampant in every corner & it's shameful to read about it ...more
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A powerfully communicated profile of police culture, municipal greed, systemic racism, and economic terrorism, the ex-police author weaves the threads of the complicated story of police violence against people of color and the ways those chosen to serve and protect are too often used as tools of oppression against the citizens.
David Corleto-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. ...more
Adam Bridgeo
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book. The book had many different cases dating back many many years, all the way to 2007. Allowed the reader a different perspective of this difficult cases.
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this author! Very educational/insightful. Recommend to get a look into America's police system (: ...more
Nicole Kennedy
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hard to read, but very good.
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
We all hear of the most current shooting of a black man by police and feel bad. This book covers many shootings in this century and the background of them. It also addresses the failings of the police systems in this country. There is no 'standard' for training and it shows. Tiny inroads have been made in a handful of cities, but so much more has to be done. ...more
Jenny Leitsch
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fast, thought-provoking read. Loved the author's perspective and how he blended others' voices throughout the book. ...more
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
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes and Racism in America's Law Enforcement and the Search for Change
Author: Matthew Horace and Ron Harris
Genre: Nonfiction
Publication Date: August 7, 2018

The Black and the Blue by Matthew Horace tackles the issue of police brutality in today's age, and analyzes how the past and present are affecting minority groups, specifically African Americans, today. Using interviews from current and ex-law enforcement officers, members of the community
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: racism
"Black Lives matter is not anti cop, just as the women's rights movement is not anti men."

"Racism and sexism affect the conscious prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone not a different race or sex based on the belief that one's own race or sex is superior."

"I feared for my life is a defense that may be reasonable but not completely accurate. That's what the higher ups tell officers to say when something goes awry. You learn it int he police academy and it becomes the m
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow, this is a great addition to popular anti-racist literature as it provides the thinking and experiences of Black officers of varying political positions.

Some thoughts:
- Matthew Horace is a law enforcement analyst for CNN and has had various experiences in the American justice system as an officer of varying ranks. He uses his experiences as an officer to help illustrate many of this points throughout the book as well as those of working and retired Black officers.
- While the book does delv
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.
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm surprised this book didn't become a huge best seller in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. It sent me and many others to reading lots of books about white privilege and racism. But it was this murder and that of Breonna Taylor that sparked the major protests of the Black Lives Matter movement and the national hunger for books on racism. It is probably a reflection of how controversial and polarizing the issue of police and racism is.

I wanted a book to give me a police officer's point of
Apr 14, 2021 rated it liked it
I found this book wildly frustrating. First, I will give Matthew Horace a lot of credit for writing a book that lays out pretty clearly some of the most troubling aspects of policing in this country. He certainly is not the first to do so, but it is very rare for someone like him - a long-time member of law enforcement who is not writing to settle scores or because he no longer wants anything to do with policing. He truly wants to see policing improve in the United States and we would be much be ...more
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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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