Bad Cops and Bystanders: How Male-Dominated Cultures Keep Men Silent

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A June 11 “Justice for George Floyd” protest in downtown Minneapolis. (Tony Webster @webster / Twitter)

The police killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests it sparked will forever be haunted by the simple fact that Floyd would never have died if only one member of the group of police who responded to that call had intervened to force Officer Derek Chauvin to release his knee from the man’s neck.

Three sworn officers of the Minneapolis Police Department—all adult men—were in a position to interrupt their fellow officer’s abusive behavior and save Floyd’s life. But none did.

Social scientists and armchair analysts alike will debate for years about why this happened. Some will attribute the failure to anti-Black racism and the long history of police abuse toward African-Americans. Some will focus on the deeply entrenched, authoritarian culture of law…

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