Summer Reading Group: From Enforcers to Guardians

UofO Reading Group: “From Enforcers to Guardians”
In partnership with DS4SI and Maplewood Memorial Library.

Mindy Fullilove, UofO Co-founder, and Hannah Cooper wrote From Enforcers to Guardians to help people understand how police violence affects health and to understand possible paths forward. You can download a free PDF of the book below, a précis for each of the main sections of the book prepared by Dr. Robert Fullilove, and a view video presentations on each of the main sections from the co-authors as well as historian Dr. Khemani Gibson and education philosopher Dr. Robert Fullilove.

June 15th – Introductions and Chapter 1: “Coming To Terms”

Dr. Mindy Fullilove gave a presentation introducing the book, why its so necessary in this moment, and guides us through Chapter 1: “Coming To Terms”, which introduces the toxic triad of police violence and the important contributions a public health framework brings to the debate on policing.

June 22nd – Part 1: Distorted Policing and its Origins

Dr. Khemani Gibson, a historian and community organizer from Orange, NJ, guides us through Part 1: “Distorted Policing and its Origins”.

June 29th – Part 2: Measuring Distorted Policing and its Effects

Co-author Dr. Hannah Cooper guides us through Part 2: “Measuring Distorted Policing and its Effects”.

July 6th– Part 3: Getting to Guardianship

Dr. Robert Fullilove guides us through Part 3, “Getting to Guardianship”.

From Enforcers To Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence

Excessive police violence and its disproportionate targeting of minority communities has existed in the United States since police forces first formed in the colonial period. A personal tragedy for its victims, for the people who love them, and for their broader communities, excessive police violence is also a profound violation of human and civil rights.

Most public discourse about excessive police violence focuses, understandably, on the horrors of civilian deaths. In From Enforcers to Guardians, Hannah L. F. Cooper and Mindy Thompson Fullilove approach the issue from a radically different angle: as a public health problem. By using a public health framing, this book challenges readers to recognize that the suffering created by excessive police violence extends far outside of death to include sexual, psychological, neglectful, and nonfatal physical violence as well.

Arguing that excessive police violence has been deliberately used to marginalize working-class and minority communities, Cooper and Fullilove describe what we know about the history, distribution, and health impacts of police violence, from slave patrols in colonial times to war on drugs policing in the present-day United States. Finally, the book surveys efforts, including Barack Obama’s 2015 creation of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, to eliminate police violence, and proposes a multisystem, multilevel strategy to end marginality and police violence and to achieve guardian policing.

Aimed at anyone seeking to understand the causes and distributions of excessive police violence—and to develop interventions to end it—From Enforcers to Guardians frames excessive police violence so that it can be understood, researched, and taught about through a public health lens.


We’re so grateful to the Design Studio for Social Intervention and the Maplewood Memorial Library for partnering with us for our three-phase Reading Group.

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