Requiem for Laquan Mcdonald: Policing as Punishment and Abolishing Reasonable Suspicion
Volume 89, No. 4, Summer 2017
By Donald F. Tibbs and Tryon P. Woods [PDF]

This Article offers readers two routes to explore critiques of the policing paradigm (which hides racial punishment within the dark mass of law) and the legal fiction of reasonable suspicion. The first route mobilizes the law against itself; it demonstrates how reasonable suspicion in practice violates Terry v. Ohio’s own standards. The second route recognizes that to live in good faith is to actively work against living in bad faith. The Article argues that accepting legal principles at face value is bad faith, for it is only with the law in action that one can establish the ethical standing to adjudicate whether the suspicions deemed “reasonable” are just that. By using both routes, the Article indicts reasonable suspicion as the means through which contemporary U.S. society has extended the terms of its slaveholding and Jim Crow past—not by refashioning Jim Crow as the leading cause of mass incarceration, as others have argued, but instead by holding on to the principles of pro-slavery and reconstructionist antiblack legal agendas.

Donald F. Tibbs is an Associate Professor of Law at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law, Drexel University. Tyron P. Woods is an Associate Professor of Crime & Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.