No, Modern Policing Did Not Originate with Slavery

Police officers patrol Times Square in New York City, July 3, 2015. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Nikole Hannah-Jones’s latest provocation is, once again, rooted in historical confusion.


ikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times1619 Project is at it again in her effort to paint everything in America as a product of slavery. This time, she is trying to tie “modern policing” to antebellum citizen slave patrols. This fundamentally misunderstands what “modern policing” means.

Here is what Hannah-Jones told CBS News, which framed her quote as proving that “what we’re seeing now has a disturbing link to the past:”

In certain parts of the country, modern policing has direct lineage to the slave patrols. The slave patrols deputized white Americans to stop, to question, to search any black person

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