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Murder in New OrleansThe Creation of Jim Crow Policing$
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Jeffrey S. Adler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226643311

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226643458.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 08 May 2021

“The Iron Hand of Justice”

“The Iron Hand of Justice”

(p.103) Chapter 5 “The Iron Hand of Justice”
Murder in New Orleans

Jeffrey S. Adler

University of Chicago Press

This chapter charts a dramatic transformation in the city’s criminal justice system. While homicide rates fell, especially among African American New Orleanians, convictions rates skyrocketed for African American suspects and plunged for white suspects. The chapter examines a small surge in bank robberies during the late 1920s and early 1930s, explaining how this modest crime wave led to widening racial disparities in law enforcement and criminal justice. Police homicide and police brutality became tools of racial control during this period, increasingly targeting African American residents. Drawing from coroners’ reports, witness testimony, and court records, Chapter Five explores the shifting dynamics of police violence during the 1920s and 1930s. The chapter devotes particular attention to the district attorney who spearheaded the transformation of the local criminal justice system and used prosecutorial discretion to bolster white supremacy in the city.

Keywords:   police brutality, crime wave, bank robbery, racial disparities, white supremacy

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