Season 1


BONUS: an update on the freddie gray case



On May 23, a judge found the second officer tried in the death of Freddie Gray not guilty.  In this bonus episode, Criminal Injustice host David Harris discusses the verdict on WESA's Essential Pittsburgh with host Paul Guggenheimer. Criminal (In)Justice returns in June with Season 2




For decades, police in the U.S. have used force under the Supreme Court's rule that they can do as much as appears "reasonably necessary" to accomplish their lawful goals. But after almost two years of national attention on police shootings of blacks, a major police professional organization has proposed -- for the first time -- that police use force less often and with more restraint than is legally required. Is this a turning point?

Chuck Wexler is Executive Director of the Washington D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum.


episode 7


The U.S. is number one in the world when it comes to incarcerating its own citizens.  With one in three black men in the U.S. likely to go to prison during his lifetime, the system begs for reform, burdens taxpayers, and weakens our country and particularly our communities of color.  After decades of resistance, the system may see changes and shrinking prison populations, because of bipartisan support for improvement.

Marc Mauer is Executive Director of the Washington D.C.-based Sentencing Project.




When someone dies or has his or her constitutional rights violated in an encounter with the police, officers can be sued. But why are these suits so tough to win even in the worst cases of misconduct? And what does the multiple millions of dollars in damages every year say about the state of police abuse in the U.S.?

David Rudovsky is a national leader in civil rights and civil liberties litigation. He is a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a founding partner at Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing and Feinberg.




When there’s a bad shooting by police, local prosecutors seldom take action. The feds can step in, but they rarely do. Why? And even when they do, why do they lose these cases so often?

Mark Kappelhoff is clinical professor of law at the University of Minnesota, and served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice.




For too long, the police "warrior" culture has relied on the use of force as its ultimate tool. But one high-ranking veteran officer and his colleagues have re-imagined police work: they give everyone unconditional respect. And it works.

Capt. Chip Huth of the Kansas City (MO) Police Dept. is co-author of Unleashing the Power of Unconditional Respect: Transforming Law Enforcement and Police Training.




Racial bias in the criminal justice system isn't just about old-school bigotry. The real problem is unconscious bias in the minds of most of us, including law enforcement. How does this affect officers' life-and-death decision making?

Melba Pearson is the Assistant District Attorney for Miami-Dade, Fla., and President of the National Black Prosecutors Association.

Take the Harvard Implicit Association Test.




Sometimes a local law enforcement agency is so dysfunctional that the federal government has to get involved. What does a top-to-bottom overhaul of an entire police department look like?

Sam Walker is Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska, and a leading expert on police accountability.




Surveillance technology and civil liberties don't often go together. But when it comes to preventing and punishing police misconduct, many civil libertarians think equipping officers with body-worn cameras could make a difference.

We look at the promise and perils of police body cameras in conversation with Vic Walczak, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.