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The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America's Law Enforcement

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During his 28-year career, Matthew Horace rose through the ranks from a police officer working the beat to a federal agent working criminal cases in some of the toughest communities in America to a highly decorated federal law enforcement executive managing high-profile investigations nationwide. Yet it was not until seven years into his service- when Horace found himself face down on the ground with a gun pointed at his head by a white fellow officer-that he fully understood the racism seething within America's police departments.

Through gut-wrenching reportage, on-the-ground research, and personal accounts from interviews with police and government officials around the country, Horace presents an insider's examination of archaic police tactics. He dissects some of the nation's most highly publicized police shootings and communities to explain how these systems and tactics have hurt the people they serve, revealing the mistakes that have stoked racist policing, sky-high incarceration rates, and an epidemic of violence.

"Horace's authority as an experienced officer, as well as his obvious integrity and courage, provides the book with a gravitas." -- The Washington Post

"The Black and the Blue is an affirmation of the critical need for criminal justice reform, all the more urgent because it

comes from an insider who respects his profession yet is willing to reveal its flaws." -- USA Today

238 pages, Hardcover

First published August 7, 2018

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Matthew Horace

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 134 reviews
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews482 followers
May 30, 2019
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 to present this no nonsense, no holds barred expose what his subtitle names rampant injustices and racism; this inequality practiced by those we count on to uphold the law. He tells it like it is and is joined by many others in his field who back him up and tell the tale.

I'd have to be deaf and blind not to know that profiling, railroading, beating, and even outright murder is taking many innocent black lives in our country. I am sickened by it yet feel helpless to make the changes needed. It became far more gut-wrenching when you read one story after the other, gathered together in one place, stacked on top of each other in its disgusting pile, these occurrences of blatant hate for the color of a person's skin. How can we expect it not to topple and cause the protests, outrage riots, and more hate that it does?

Non-fiction that makes me think always earns my praise. Even better is non-fiction in which I learn. I'm sad to say one thing I learned in reading The Black And The Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America's Law Enforcement is that though I do not consider myself racist I am guilty of being biased. Can I be one without being the other? I think so.

The textbook definition of implicit bias says it is the attitudes or stereotypes that we all have. They, in turn, affect our encounters with people, and influence our actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. In other words, we internalize repeated messages from our family, our friends, our neighbors, our community, and the stereotypes and images we see on television, and in movies, magazines, and other media.

I believe my bias comes from my upbringing, my isolation in living in a highly white community and my fear of the few black that lived close by. An example. As a young girl, probably under the age of 11, I was allowed to go uptown, to shop, to visit the library, to see a movie. These activities were in a central area mostly on a main street. Safe. Adjacent to this street was a narrow road with industry, and small businesses. The street made a nice round about way to visit upper main. I was forbidden from walking that street as it also connected to the area where most of the town's populace of black people lived. I walked it anyway but always feared what might happen to me. Is this the real-life boogeyman Horace describes? Yet on that connector street I used to pass a black church where on Sunday mornings you could hear the most beautiful and uplifting singing. How could that be something to fear? Such confusion for this young girl. This may sound simplistic but there were many other implied threats like this. I was taught to fear those different than me. This is not an excuse my bias, it is an attempt to understand and to learn.

A thought-provoking read that will stay with me.
Profile Image for Jeff.
1,243 reviews105 followers
July 12, 2018
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 in its balance, in that he at minimum admitted how bad police are, his own particular abuses, and that this is not "a few bad apples", but the entire system and culture. All of this was refreshing to hear a cop say, and very welcome.

At the same time, however, rather than fully accept responsibility for *not killing people*, Horace routinely makes excuses and says that the ultimate responsibility for ending police brutality lies with politicians, community leaders, mental health providers, businesses, indeed *anyone* but police themselves.

Structure wise, the book spends quite a bit of time - roughly half its 14 total chapters (counting the epilogue as a chapter) - looking at the New Orleans and Chicago police departments specifically. The rest is a more general look using Horace's career as a lens. He looks at a few specific and infamous incidents, including the Danzinger Bridge, the aforementioned Michael Brown case that spawned the Black Lives Matter organization, and the Laquan Mcdonald case that threatened to plunge Chicago into chaos, through the lens of someone who both investigated and trained police in proper procedures, and often makes it a point to point out exactly where the police made the mistakes that resulted in the body bags.
Unfortunately there are also a number of grammar errors throughout the book, often a misplaced word similar to a word that was clearly intended.

Overall, this is a recommended book, if only because it is so thorough, balanced, and from this particular viewpoint. I would still recommend Radley Balko's 2013 classic The Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of Police in America as a better look at the overall issue, but this is a solid companion to that book. I'm going with 3 stars for now, but honestly there was considerable debate within my head between three and four stars, and I can see cases for both.

The reason for the 3 stars? Even while admitting his own abuses, he neglects two very important words America needs to hear from even formerly abusive cops:

I'm Sorry.
Profile Image for Donna Davis.
1,758 reviews236 followers
August 5, 2018
"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 outside Seattle, Washington where I live, but it’s not just here; it’s everywhere in the US. Specifically, he tells us about cities where some of the most notorious cop violence has created resistance such as New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, and Ferguson.

There are essays provided by police chiefs from some of these places as well as from Kathleen O’Toole, who was chief here in Seattle; O’Toole’s prose reek of electioneering, the sort of style that speaks for itself. Many of these contributors contradict Horace’s own assertion that the problem is endemic, and is absolutely not a case of a few bad apples. More than one of these essays hold the fascination I’d feel if forced to watch a rattlesnake before it strikes; the sanctimony, the grandiose claims of justice supposedly served. The most interesting of them all is from an African-American police chief in Chicago, whose personal stories of her family members having been abused—including her sons—stand diametrically opposed to what she does for a living, and yet she maintains her tightrope walk, determined to make a difference where only the smallest, if any, seems likely.

By now I should have thanked Net Galley and Hachette Books for the review copy, which I received free and early. This excellent book is available to the public Tuesday, August 7, 2018.

There has been a flurry of books published about this subject since it became national news. More than anything, the internet and cellular phones have stripped the gatekeeping capacity of the major news outlets; cops that were able to beat and even kill people and lie about it later are being outed left and right. Even I, who am an old lefty and have never really believed cops were there to protect ordinary people, am shocked by much of what’s been revealed. I wondered, as I began reading, whether Horace could add to what’s already been said and shown. What could he add to the body of information provided by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Davis, and Matt Taibbi? (Many years ago, Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief, also wrote an expose that included a chapter on why cops beat Black men.)

As it happens, Horace has a lot of information that I hadn’t read, and it isn’t just a matter of fine detail. For example, who knew that in New Orleans, cops were not merely accepting graft, but actively robbing Black-owned businesses, guns drawn, and making off with their cash and other valuables? It’s the sort of thing that lives in your head for a long time after you read it; but then again, it should be.

The sourcing is impeccable.

Those with an interest in Black Lives Matter, in civil rights in general, or with an interest in race issues within the so-called criminal justice system in America should get this book, for full price if necessary, and read it. Read the whole thing. So much of our future depends on how we respond.
Profile Image for Susanne.
368 reviews17 followers
November 25, 2019
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 enemy” by his fellow officers. It might be fair to say that his real beef is with American society as a whole, since we seem willing to accept entrenched poverty, despair and hopelessness as long as our police force protects the rest of us from the inevitable consequences. If police culture is rife with racism, so is American culture at large.

The chapter on what precipitated the violence in Ferguson, Missouri is breath-taking: imagine a police department literally required by city hall to write enough tickets for traffic and civic violations to keep an entire municipal budget afloat for years. Because it was black people who bore the brunt of it, those city officials were perfectly willing to overlook the injustice of it all. A white middle-class community would never have tolerated (or been expected to tolerate) the sort of abuses that eventually resulted in rioting after the killing of Michael Brown. Hostility between police and the black community had been brewing for years before that incident tipped things over a line.

Horace is also frank that Police are not trained to be social workers or mental health counselors but are expected to behave as if they were. It is an impossible dilemma pitting the poor and people of color against those who are supposed to protect them from injustice.
Profile Image for ♥ Sandi ❣	.
1,271 reviews8 followers
October 4, 2022
3 stars

This book was not what I expected. It was an expose' on Black Lives Matter told by a black man, a 28 year veteran of the police force who had held several high ranking positions. He was not anti - white man, he only wanted to take the stand that Black Lives Matter - ALSO.

This book told the stories of many of the police shootings of black men and boys around the country within the last few years, up to about 2016/2017. About the racial stigmata of many police officers, both black and white. And of the 'brotherhood' of the police force and their closed mouth approach when they see something happening that they either don't like or know is illegal. What truly goes on behind the 'blue line'.

His ultimate solution was more and different training. Ongoing training for veteran cops. A new recruit will take on the atmosphere of the department he joins - he is unlikely to make any changes. So whatever is ingrained in that city, in that department - be it warrior cop or social worker cop - is what the new recruit has to either adapt to, or move on from. And the larger the city and the older the police force usually the more old school 'warrior cop' the method. "Warrior cop' = shoot and and ask questions later. The more hard line the atmosphere.
Profile Image for Julie.
607 reviews
October 14, 2020
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 experienced within the criminal justice system and witnessed in the various positions he's held. I highly recommend this book.

Trigger warning - it contains many graphic examples of police brutality.
Profile Image for Jerry Smith.
743 reviews13 followers
July 1, 2022
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 these dreadful events are captured on video. It was only a month ago that George Floyd was lynched on the streets of Minneapolis by a white cop.

This was an interesting read, replete with examples from a career, African American police officer. There is a narrative currently predominating in many circles that holds that examples of police brutality are simply the results of a few "bad apples" that need to be weeded out of the force. Horace addresses this and writes what I think; this is simply not good enough. It allows us to think that we can remove these officers and all will be well whilst failing utterly to consider there is a more structural and systemic problem here.

The book moves between general observations but is heavy on specific examples of police corruption and brutality. The New Orleans PD and Chicago PD come in for particular criticism and the activities of those two forces fell into blatantly criminal activities under corrupt police chiefs. These are interesting and make the point that police forces are perfectly capable of becoming that type of organization and can't be written off as a few bad cops. Changing them is possible, but they become a culture of silence and complicity and I think this is the point. If police officers won't hold each other to account, and most forces have a culture of not reporting bad behavior, then they can, literally, get away with murder.

Add to that corrupt systems in which forces can operate (prosecutors, mayors etc) who also refuse to charge, indict or even investigate brutality and you get a force that can indulge racist activities with impunity, and they do.The Chicago experience was very telling - hundreds of police shootings, disproportionately wounding and killing black people, somehow almost all officers being exonerated and the killings deemed appropriate use of force. It is only with the advent of body cams and dash cams that we are gaining sight of these outrages and STILL, many of the powers that be sought to circle the wagons, suppress release of incriminating video and officers sworn to protect and serve providing sworn testimonies of events that never happened. Laquan MacDonald is a case that had receded in my memory but he was shot by an officer 16 times, 15 of which as he lay on the ground and the officers present all swore he had been threatening with a knife. It was caught on dash cam and he was walking away, not threatening and was shot within 10 seconds of the officer arriving. This was an execution. The officer may be a bad apple, but that doesn't explain the departmental, political, city cover up that was only exposed when video surfaced.

Horace makes great points about broken systems. Homelessness and mental illness and social problems that we put on the police to solve and I agree this is part of the problem that needs broader societal solutions. However, I do think we need to look at training, pay and rations, recruitment and many other aspects of the law enforcement community. It is clearly broken too and allows racist officers to not only survive, but to thrive and gain promotion.

So ultimately, this lifted the lid to a certain extent, on just how systemic are the problems. It is the ultimate white privilege to be able to support the police and think that when you call them the outcome will be good for you. It's all very well to look at the police and see them as there to support you, when for black and hispanic people that is simply not the case and there is a chance they will kill or abuse you. I didn't really learn anything here that was a surprise to me, but I am glad I read it because it articulated many of the issues very well. It also gives the reader more on an insight into how corrupt police departments can become if we are not careful, which makes the whole "protect and serve" motto a cruel joke to far too many people. I would have like to have seen a checklist of suggested actions in summary at the end of the book as I think that would have rounded it off nicely.
Profile Image for rosalind.
490 reviews65 followers
August 8, 2019
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.

there's a very good look at ferguson's traffic violations and its economic motivations, as well as the structural elements that help reinforce police violence, but it has a bit of a "just doing their jobs" defense that seems pretty weak. like, you don't have to do that job, buddy. if enough cops were like "this law is unjust and we refuse to enforce it," you can't tell me nothing would happen. like jesus christ. i'm just not convinced that we need police specifically to have a functional society. (pretty useful to have a bunch of armed and trained racists on hand if you're planning a fascist takeover of america, though.)

and he keeps saying he finds things stunning or surprising. like how are you stunned? how can you be surprised? this isn't surprising information. especially wrt to stuff like NOLAPD's corruption post-katrina—like yeah okay maybe that wouldn't surprise you if you knew more about structural oppression than what you need to know to blame systemic police violence on congress.

he also doesn't seem particularly apologetic for having been oppressive and violent in the past, which is a bit troubling. overall this is a great account which suffers from an avoidance of any personal responsibility for the perpetuation of an unjust and violent system. also a little wack to me that he doesn't mention that policing isn't the only option for community justice or that cops literally started out as slave-catchers.

i think this book would probably be useful to give to liberals who have a hard time understanding that oppression occurs structurally rather than incidentally (ie 98% of liberals) and conservatives who think cops are basically gods and deserve absolute arbitration over who lives and dies in america.

tl;dr this has a lot of good info but i think i'm not the target audience, because i would have read these statistics anyway and i already know cops experience individiated subjectivity
Profile Image for Elle (literary.ya).
463 reviews4 followers
August 26, 2018
“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.”
Profile Image for Sarah .
92 reviews6 followers
April 29, 2021
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 and should not be assigned to do" (p. 215). I wish there had been more of a discussion of interaction with individuals who have mental illness, perhaps offering advice in terms of more having robust social programs (more funding for counselors, etc.). I suppose that was outside of the scope of this book.
Overall, some good insight into various police departments across the U.S. from the perspective of a former black officer and the injustices and brutalities within. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for TJ Wilson.
475 reviews8 followers
August 9, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
49 reviews
June 12, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Nioke.
152 reviews21 followers
May 17, 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.
Profile Image for Valerie Anne.
883 reviews13 followers
December 14, 2018
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 color. Not a cozy, uplifting, heartwarming book, but one that got me thinking and therein lies its importance. To enact change we first must make ourselves (i.e. white people) aware there's a problem, we must take a hard look at the inequities in law enforcement and in how people in our communities are treated...and then we must demand better.
Profile Image for Gemini.
267 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2018
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 in this day & age. Being truthful to oneself & going against the pack or leader is unheard of, but yet some people were able to step forward to say, enough, which must have been extremely difficult. Trying to make change happen even from within seemed almost pointless, but standing their ground they were able to rid of the evil empire. Although this still needs to continue & the progress is still an uphill battle you have to keep going. how else will you be able to confront all the racist people out there? This book is so worth the read, it will open your eyes to how corrupt the people & the system are.
Profile Image for Kit.
762 reviews47 followers
July 10, 2020
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.
Profile Image for David Corleto-Bales.
1,011 reviews59 followers
October 17, 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.
13 reviews
April 22, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Alice.
65 reviews
December 22, 2020
I really liked this author! Very educational/insightful. Recommend to get a look into America's police system (:
Profile Image for Marni.
913 reviews
February 18, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Jenny Leitsch.
303 reviews7 followers
September 17, 2019
This was a fast, thought-provoking read. Loved the author's perspective and how he blended others' voices throughout the book.
89 reviews
August 1, 2022
The third book of a canon I unknowingly created about institutionalized racism (the other two being His Name was George Floyd and Black Boy), this book provides a stark, bleak, unflinching view of predatory law enforcement in the United States. The author paints a detailed, unbiased view of police practices, proving that we live in an era that differs very little from the Jim Crow south before the advent of the civil rights movement. Anybody wondering where the Black Lives Matter movement came from ought to read this important book.
Profile Image for Vnunez-Ms_luv2read.
846 reviews18 followers
April 14, 2018
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 does. This book will stay with me for a long time. Please read this book, you will be doing yourself an injustice by not reading it. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.
59 reviews
February 20, 2020

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, policing must continue to change but the author does a good job of showing that the responsibility must be shared. Community groups, religious groups, schools, towns... all must go above and beyond to help mend relationships, keeps kids in school and give them viable futures.
Profile Image for Ben Krutko.
29 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Leigh Donnelly.
Author 7 books45 followers
April 18, 2022
A difficult but important read. Interviews and events from around the country offer a more comprehensive understanding of what the real problem is and how we can start to fix it - spoiler alert, it's not more brutality, tickets, or jail time.
Profile Image for SundaytoSaturday .com.
72 reviews2 followers
August 2, 2022
SUMMARY: For those wondering if the issue with policing is a couple of bad officers or if it is the system, 28-year law enforcement veteran Matthew Horace unequivocally paints a picture of a broken system in his memoir The Black and the Blue. Before critiquing the system, Horace unequivocally says he is a cop while also being unequivocally a black man.

"As a career African-American law enforcement officer, I've literally lived on both sides of the barrel, my finger on the trigger, one second away from using deadly force in one case and, in the next, as a black man with a police officer's gun pointed at my face, a blink away from being killed."

Horace says America's policing system is broken due to relaxed hiring practices, insufficient training, and public policies that are implemented by local, state, and federal agencies that dictate the role of policing in communities.

"Cases of police misconduct, inappropriate police shootings, racial profiling, and police 'mistakes' point to much broader, systemic issues, rather than just a few bad apples," Horace writes. "Too often, they reflect a culture of disregard among police for the people they are paid to serve, an us-against-them mentality that affects us all."

This broken police culture has deep roots in racism that ingrained an attitude in America's police force that often sees the people they police as "other." This history needs to be acknowledged before healing can begin.

"Even as African-Americans became cops, we were segregated and discriminated against at every turn," Horace says. "Initially, black police officers only patrolled black neighborhoods. They weren’t allowed to arrest white residents. They also weren’t allowed to ride in police cars and, during roll call, white officers sat while they stood."

Horace drives this point home with several personal stories. In one story he details being randomly attacked by a police dog in Philadelphia putting his collegiate career in jeopardy. In another he tells a story of a gun being placed to his head by a fellow police officer. In addition to acknowledging the racism that is engrained in many police departments we must also recognize the bias that all humans carry and how those biases can become deadly.

"Implicit biases are attitudes and assumptions ingrained in our subconscious...We all have these biases. They don’t necessarily make us bad people. They just make us people," Horace pens. But, he is quick to point that that bias becomes dangerous when "they are held by someone with a badge and a gun, and the power to take a life."

The meat of the book focuses on Horace's time in the New Orleans and Chicago police departments where he puts a human face on the challenges he faced as a police officer and a black police officer. He highlights a broken system that trains police to look at situations in terms of wins or losses instead solutions to solve a problem.

As for the conflict between police and black people Horace firmly puts the onus on local, state, and federal officials who put polices in place that dictate how law enforcement are to police the public. He says the police are "merely the flashpoint" of the intersection between public policy, mentally ill people, and the public.

Staying with that theme Horace points out how ill equipped police are in responding to the mentally ill who are 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement and account for half of the annual deaths at the hands of the police. Simply put, police are not trained to identify nor mitigate such mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

"Officers respond to emergencies with lethal force where urgent care may be more appropriate...The result? We are unnecessarily killing mentally ill people and using cops to do it."

The solution? It requires that we reimagine how police function in society.

"Do (the police) stand apart from societal norms or will they uphold their motto of 'To Protect and Serve'? Are they to be looked at as the men and women who sweep up the refuse left by our refusal or inability to tackle societal problems, or are they partners in our efforts to provide a vibrant and supportive community for all? The decision is ours."

KEY QUOTE: "The wrongs inside police departments are not about a handful of bad police officers. Instead, they reflect bad policing procedures and policies that many of our departments have come to accept as gospel. To fix the problem requires a realignment of our thinking about the role police play and how closely they as a group and as individuals are knitted into the fabric of society. Do they stand apart from societal norms or will they uphold their motto of 'To Protect and Serve?' Are they to be looked at as the men and women who sweep up the refuse left by our refusal or inability to tackle societal problems, or are they partners in our efforts to provide a vibrant and supportive community for all? The decision is ours."

MORE: Visit SundaytoSaturday.com where we curate topics for a disillusioned church.
1 review
February 19, 2020
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, and people affected by police brutality, Horace examines every point of view. He also takes a look at the Black Lives Matter movement, the people who support it, and how it has affected peoples lives. He also speaks on his own experiences being both an African American man and a law enforcement officer.

Not only does Horace look at the citizens, but he investigates officers and law enforcement as a whole, both past and present. He acknowledges the biases that are in the police force, and how those have an effect on officers and the citizens that they interact with. He speaks on corruption and the code of silence, that some officers today wouldn't dare to acknowledge. One police department he talked about was the New Orleans police department (NOPD). Two whole chapters were dedicated to the corruption inside of the NOPD, and how it affected the citizens of the city, and how it has changed (or stayed the same) over time. This was done not only with the city of New Orleans, but with cities all around America. Horace dived into many crime ridden cities, and spoke about the differences of those cities as opposed to upper class, majority white areas. One trend we saw while he was doing this was that in these upper class areas, there was less crime and better police relations, but more racial profiling when minorities were seen in these neighborhoods.

For me, the selling point of the book, what made me pick it up, was the fact that Horace took the time to talk to law enforcement officers, and took the time to travel to areas where police brutality is a serious problem. He wasn't sitting at home, doing online research and over the phone interviews. While he did provide statistics and facts, he did so much more than that, to paint a full picture of what is going on in this country. He traveled to New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and many more places, taking the time to talk to everyone. Cops and citizens alike. He got both sides of the story, even if it put him in an uncomfortable situation, and allowed me to understand how some officers think. He also allowed me to see how citizens feel about the police in their city, and to hear personal stories, including his. He spoke on his experience as a law enforcement officer, and his near death experience as a black man in America.

This book was not an easy read. If you're considering reading this book, I would warn you that nothing in this book is sugar coated. Everything is told exactly how it is, and at times, that can be hard to handle. Reading this book wasn't like hearing about these issues on the news. With this book, I got personal accounts from victims families, people who have experienced racial profiling, and even cops who have been on the giving end of brutality. Honestly, none of it sat right with me, and at times it was too much to handle, but I pushed through because I wanted to understand everything. All sides of the story. The things that wouldn't be on the news and wouldn't affect me, but had taken a toll on other people's day to day lives. With this book, I was able to do that.

My biggest takeaway from this book is that we are all human. No matter how differently we think or how different we may look, at the end of the day we are all human. Being very passionate about the topic of police brutality, it's hard for me to see that sometimes. Some officers may have biases, but whether we know it or not, we all have biases. As cliche as it sounds, I learned that not all cops are bad cops. Just like how officers learn that not all black people are bad people. An interview with Kathleen O'Toole helped me learn that. In her interview with Horace, she said "with training, [she's] convinced [cops] can do a lot better, but there will always be something. [They] can do 1,000 things right, but there will be that one cop who does something wrong" (Horace 67). Though this book hasn't changed how I view officers entirely, it has made me realize that there are good cops out there, and that is something that I will try to remember in my everyday life.
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195 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2021
I have a lot of thoughts on this book....I wanted to read and learn more from the viewpoint of the Black police officer, and what their perspective is regarding the intersection of policing in America and race. This is not a perspective I have heard or read over the last year. I was told about this book, and was anxious to dig in. The author, Matthew Horace, is a Black man with over 30 years as a law enforcement officer in varying roles, and in varying cities. His experience is extensive. With this book, he gives his own personal thoughts and perspectives, but he spends quite a bit of it offering views and perspectives from other officers around the nation. He gives quite a bit of history about different cases, people, and situations along the way. It is extremely helpful to gain more understanding of how policing works in America, what’s wrong, and how police are asked to do and play roles they have not been trained—for example how the author speaks to the roles community partners need to play as well. The author does speak to the history of racism, and how it shows up both with officers, and how it plays out in policing. He gives many examples. Prepare to be angered and frustrated as the most high needs communities take the brunt of this. There were some sections that I’ll highlight that I thought were important...

1. Pg1..”Implicit bias lives in our police departments, just as it exists among our coworkers, families, friends, and associates. The textbook definition of implicit bias says it is the attitudes or stereotypes that we all have. They, in turn, affect our encounters with people, and influence our actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. Bias is different than racism and sexism. Racism and sexism affect the conscious prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race or sex based on the belief that one’s own race or sex is superior. Implicit biases are attitudes and assumptions ingrained in our subconscious.”

2.pg109 “We are in the process, in Chicago, of trying to turn this big boat around the way society wants us to police now. Before, society wanted us to be warriors. Now, they’re telling us we don’t want warriors; we want guardians. We want you to be more of a guardian. A warrior goes out and wants to get arrests, to protect the law. If there’s a gray area, you fall on the side of the law and let the judicial system figure out how to handle it.”

3.pg141 “It is unfortunate that there are people who see this continuum of Black Lives Matter and Police Lives Matter as being on either end of the equation. It’s such a false equivalency. It’s not a matter of one being on one end of the spectrum and another being on the opposite end. There’s nothing that says people who care about the past and the future of people of color-and who realize that we have a lot of bad history and that it takes a toll in many ways and that there are still a lot of bigoted attitudes- are anti police. We can acknowledge that and it’s not saying what police do is not important, or that police officers’ lives are not important. There is nothing that says addressing the first means you’re not committed to the second. The great majority of the black community want a good relationship with the police.”

So, a hard but necessary read- especially for someone like me who is a white, suburban, stay at home mom, who has never been impoverished or suffered trauma or racism. This is the history that others like me need to be reading- and then figure out how to get involved and help be part of the solution. This was a very good and helpful read. Highly recommend.
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