Skip to main content
PRINT EDITION

“Send Freedom House!”: A Study in Police Abolition

By October 1, 2021July 22nd, 2022No Comments

Abstract: Sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the 2020 uprisings accelerated a momentum of abolitionist organizing that demands the defunding and dismantling of policing infrastructures. Although a growing body of legal scholarship recognizes abolitionist frameworks when examining conventional proposals for reform, critics mistakenly continue to disregard police abolition as an unrealistic solution. This Essay helps dispel this myth of “impracticality” and illustrates the pragmatism of abolition by identifying a community-driven effort that achieved a meaningful reduction in policing we now take for granted. I detail the history of the Freedom House Ambulance Service, a Black civilian paramedic service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that was created in the late 1960s to confront the racialized violence and neglect inflicted by police ambulance drivers. This Essay outlines the now abolished practice of ambulance policing, explores the city’s response to Freedom House’s revolutionary program, and analyzes current efforts of police reform through this historical lens.

Download the Full Article

Other Articles from WLR Print Edition

June 1, 2022 in PRINT EDITION

The Chorus Doctrine: Promoting Sub-National Diplomacy in Regional Growth Management

Abstract: Sub-national diplomacy, also known as paradiplomacy, occurs when sub-national actors (think cities or states) engage in international relations, either with other sub-national actors or nation-states. Though typically the province…
Read More
June 1, 2022 in PRINT EDITION

Copyright Protection for Works in the Language of Life

Abstract: In 2001, the DNA Copyright Institute sought to capitalize on the fear of human cloning by offering celebrities the opportunity to use copyright to secure exclusive rights in their…
Read More
June 1, 2022 in PRINT EDITION

Victims as Instruments

Abstract: Crime victims are often instrumentalized within the criminal legal process in furtherance of state prosecutorial interests. This is a particularly salient issue concerning victims of gender-based violence (GBV) because…
Read More