Cop: A Journalist Infiltrates the Police (Paperback)

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By Valentin Gendrot, Frank Wynne (Translator)
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Staff Reviews


It is an ugly, cold comfort to say, “at least they have the same problems in France,” but here we are. Gendrot’s pulled off two major feats with this book. The first, of course, is spending two years undercover as a journalist in the Parisian police force without getting himself killed. The second is capturing on the page the crushing frustration of the central Catch-22 of changing policing: To fix the problem, you have to admit there’s a problem, but if you admit there’s a problem, now you’re the problem. In clean, clear-eyed reportage, Gendrot is unflinching but evenhanded about what he documents – the daily, casual acts of racism, violence, and misogyny of some fellow officers, the code of silence adopted by the rest, the lack of resources, support, and training for the front-line, and the disconnect between politicians and the brass from what’s happening in the streets. It’s farcically optimistic to think this book is going to be the catalyst for serious police reform. In fact, it begs the pessimistic question: are these problems actually problems or part of the design of how we police in the Western hemisphere? Still, Gendrot’s book is important, a necessary document of and confrontation with the current reality and its toll on those doing the policing and those being policed.

— Chris Lee

Description


A Paris police force as you've never seen it

Police officers are obliged to give an account of every incident they are involved in. But what happened today will never be logged. Because that's what police solidarity means: what happens in the van stays in the van.

Well, not always. Not this time.

What really happens behind the walls of a police station? To answer this question, investigative journalist Valentin Gendrot put his life on hold for two years and became the first journalist in history to infiltrate the police undetected.

Within three months of training to become an officer, he was given a permit to carry a weapon in public. And although he lived in daily fear of being discovered, in his book Gendrot hides nothing.

Assigned to work in a tough area of Paris where tensions between the law and locals ran high, Gendrot witnessed police brutality, racism, blunders, and cover-ups. But he also saw the oppressive working conditions that officers endured, and mourned the tragic suicide of a colleague.

Asking important questions about who holds institutional power and how we can hold them to account, Cop is a gripping expos of a world never before seen by outsiders.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781950354849
ISBN-10: 1950354849
Publisher: Scribe Us
Publication Date: April 5th, 2022
Pages: 240
Language: English