From Police Reform to Police Abolition? How Residents and Activists in Minneapolis Want to Make Black Lives Matter

Mon, 01/24/2022 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Michelle Phelps, associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, will present “From Police Reform to Police Abolition? How Residents and Activists in Minneapolis Want to Make Black Lives Matter” as part of the Criminology, Law and Society’s Colloquium series.

Abstract: The police killing of George Floyd in 2020 was a watershed moment, triggering massive protests across the country and demands to “end” the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). I draw on a multi-method case study of anti-police violence activism and community perceptions of the police in Minneapolis from 2017-2021 to understand how activists, city leaders, and everyday residents frame the problems in policing and their potential solutions. The project findings highlight the enduring role of race/racism in shaping orientations toward the law and the future of public safety.

Bio: Michelle S. Phelps’ research focuses on various punishment forms, including policing, mass probation, and mass incarceration, and has been published in American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, Sociology of Race & Ethnicity, Mobilization, Law & Society Review, and Theoretical Criminology. She is the co-author of Breaking the Pendulum: The Long Struggle Over Criminal Justice and is working on a second book, tentatively titled Policing the Progressive City: Race, Violence, and the Future of Public Safety in Minneapolis.

For questions about the webinar, contact the Colloquium Committee: Amanda Geller (, Miguel Quintana Navarrete (, Susan Coutin ( or Meghan Ballard (

Michelle Phelps