Author and “Policing Project” Director Barry Friedman, Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission, in Conversation with LA Police Commission President Matt Johnson

Wednesday, March 15th at 7:00 p.m.

In Unwarranted: Policing Without Permission, author, prominent law professor and “Policing Project” director Barry Friedman delivers a galvanizing and systemic overview on contemporary policing that reveals not only how Ferguson’s laying open of excessive – and discriminatory- force is tied to Snowden’s exposure of citizen surveillance but argues that only our full engagement will give us the reformation required for a robust democracy. Friedman will be in conversation with well-known attorney Matt Johnson, the civilian president of the LA Police Commission. Join them in a crucial discussion about the present policing impasse and the liberating way forward in this conversation, reading, q&a and signing.  

unwarrantedAs the debate about out-of-control policing heats up, an authority on constitutional law offers a provocative account of how our rights have been eroded. Unwarranted tells the stories of ordinary people whose lives were torn apart by policing—by the methods of cops on the beat and those of the FBI and NSA. Driven by technology, policing has changed dramatically. Once, cops sought out bad guys; today, increasingly militarized forces conduct wide surveillance of all of us. Policing falls particularly heavily on minority communities and the poor, but as Unwarranted makes clear, the effects of policing are much broader still. Police play an indispensable role in our society. But our failure to supervise them has left us all in peril. And the courts, which we depended upon to supervise policing, have let us down entirely. In Unwarranted, Barry Friedman argues that the problem is not so much the policing agencies as it is the rest of us. We allow these agencies to operate in secret and to decide how to police us, rather than calling the shots ourselves. Unwarranted is a critical, timely intervention into debates about policing and a call to take responsibility for governing those who govern us.

“In this remarkably lucid and persuasive book, Barry Friedman forces us to confront the most difficult, uncomfortable question about policing: not what should the police do, but what do we want the police to do? With insight and passion, Unwarranted lays out a vision for truly democratic policing. A must-read.” —Chris Hayes, host of All In with Chris Hayes and author of Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy


photo by Abby Cope

Barry Friedman is the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and the director of the Policing Project. For thirty years he has taught, written about, and litigated issues of constitutional law and criminal procedure. He is the author of The Will of the People. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and The New Republic, among other publications. He lives with his wife and two children in New York City.

mattjpolicephotoMatthew W. Johnson is President of the Los Angeles Police Commission and the managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP. He has an extensive film and television practice, representing some of the most recognizable on-camera talent today as well as many renowned film and television producers, directors and writers. In 2008, Commissioner Johnson was the youngest person recognized by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the 100 Power Lawyers in the Entertainment Industry. He was also named one of the Root 100 Most Influential African Americans in the United States.