Criminal Justice Ethics 37 (1):01-19 (2018)

Mathew A. Foust
Central Connecticut State University
The killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and others have instigated widespread debate concerning the ethics and politics of police behavior toward young black men in America. In this article, I show how Josiah Royce’s philosophy of loyalty provides a useful theoretical framework for diagnosing and working to overcome strained relations between police and black citizens in the United States. I begin by establishing the relevance of Royce’s thought to the realm of police ethics. Then, I argue that Royce’s notion of loyalty to loyalty is a useful and powerful lens through which we can examine the practice of police discretion, particularly as it comes to bear on racial profiling and use of force. I conclude by offering what I regard as Roycean recommendations aimed at ameliorating the fractured relationship between police and blacks in America today.
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