Left Noir 3: “You Talkin’ To Me”—Cops, Corruption & Capitalism

S.A. Solomon, Ken Wishnia, Steve Wishnia

The depiction of cops by American crime writers ranges from the hopelessly corrupt (James Ellroy) to the heroic (Michael Connelly) to the conflicted (Richard Price). Recent high-profile cases such as the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, as well as the wholesale use of “stop and frisk” tactics in black and Latino neighborhoods, have thrust the ages-old issue of discriminatory policing fully into the public eye. Some people argue that police exist solely to enforce order for the ruling capitalist powers; some question whether we even need cops. Yet, we expect police to come quickly when we call, and ask them to put themselves between us and danger when our bodies or property are threatened. Should we turn our backs on cops when they crack under the strain? Aren’t bad cops just a mirror of our corrupt society? Writers Kenneth Wishnia, Steven Wishnia, and S.A. Solomon take on these questions and more in a panel on cops, corruption, and capitalism in crime fiction.