Police Brutality and White Supremacy is a collection of interviews by Etan Thomas of people in the movement for police reform and accountability, in the press, and even in the police. Thomas approaches each person with warmhearted openness that inspires them to open up to him, showing personal vulnerability that is seldom shown to the public.

There is a charming moment in his interview with Raymond Santana, one of the Exonerated Five (Central Park) when Santana mentions Mrs. B who was Thomas’ grandmother and who raised Thomas. His grandmother worked at the juvenile corrections facility and told the then-teenaged Santana that she believed him. It was just a moment of sweet synchronicity.

His list of people he interviewed is eclectic and surprising, but he makes the connection clear as he investigates different aspects of police brutality from the point of view of the victims, of police reformers, activists, and the media. He asks white people what they are doing to influence other white people to see their privilege. As a professional athlete, he also looks at the activism in athletics by interviewing fellow athletes, but also team management/CEOs like Mark Cuban. He interviews religious and education leaders to examine how racism is woven into our society and cultivated generation after generation.

Police Brutality and White Supremacy is an excellent collection of interviews. Thomas approaches each person with such warmth and good feeling that they are disarmed and are very open and revealing in their interviews. He mentions his children and how they are affected and makes such strong personal connections that each interview seems like a conversation between friends.

Thomas’ choice of who to interview seemed strange at first glance. I mean why Jake Tapper and Mark Cuban? But then, as his overarching theme becomes apparent it makes complete sense. His interviews start with the personal, with the victims of brutality and injustice and then widen to the systemic as he deftly proves his case.

I received an ARC of Police Brutality and White Supremacy from the publisher through LibraryThing.