Almost precisely a year ago Freddie Gray died of injuries sustained while in the custody of Baltimore police. His death was one among several recent cases where African Americans have been killed by police officers, and have prompted serious discussions about policing around the country. This month historian Sarah Siff details how the problem of "policing the police" stretches back decades and is rooted in the structure of American politics itself. Our system of federalism has created a tension between rights guaranteed by the Constitution and police authority that resides at the state and local levels. Sorting out those tensions remains an unfinished part of the civil rights movement.
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