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Historian Jelani Cobb On Race, Rights And The Challenge Of 'Policing The Police' In 2020

Police officers are prepped with riot gear in downtown San Antonio before a protest calling to an end for police brutality on May 30, 2020.
Dominic Anthony Walsh | Texas Public Radio
Police officers are prepped with riot gear in downtown San Antonio before a protest calling to an end for police brutality on May 30, 2020.

Following a summer of protests against police brutality and in honor of the lives lost to it, FRONTLINE's latest documentary examines race, policing and the struggle to hold law enforcement departments accountable. 

Following up on reporting from 2016 about the Newark Police Deparment, "Policing the Police 2020"  looks at the challenge of reforming law enforcement in "a poor city plagued by violent crime, where the victims and the perpetrators are usually black, and the police force itself is largely black and Latino."

Why is Newark, New Jersey, a microcosm for issues of race and policing in America? What progress has been made since 2016?

Why is it so hard to change how cops operate? What systemic issues impede reform?

"Policing the Police 2020" is now available to stream on pbs.org/frontline, The PBS Video App and on YouTube.

Guest: Jelani Cobb, FRONTLINE contributor, staff writer for The New Yorker and professor at Columbia Journalism School

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, September 16.

Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.