The New Press publishes The Ferguson Report

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

This week, The New Press publishes paperback and e-book editions of the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department." The New Press editions include a substantive introduction by Theodore M. Shaw, Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill and former president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Released online on March 4, 2015, the Justice Department report is the culmination of a six-month investigation of the justice system in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting by police of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. The report details rampant injustice in the Ferguson police department and court system, which, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, “consistently approached law enforcement not as a means for protecting public safety, but as a way to generate revenue. . . . Officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them.”

The introduction to The Ferguson Report by Theodore M. Shaw contextualizes the report with respect to nationwide issues of policing, race, and justice. Professor Shaw served on the Obama Transition Team after the 2008 presidential election; was team leader for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department; and, while on the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, served on the committee that promulgated the affirmative action admissions policy and program that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger. He has also been a New Press board member since 2008. The paperback and e-book editions of The Ferguson Report will be offered for $10.00.

New Press Executive Director Diane Wachtell calls the report “a sad, sobering, and important document, which provides a snapshot of law enforcement at the start of the twenty-first century, with resonance far beyond one small town in Missouri.” Ellen Adler, The New Press’s publisher, predicts that “the Justice Department Report on policing in Ferguson will take its place on the shelf next to the Kerner Commission Report, the 9/11 Commission Report, and the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture as a landmark piece of American history,” adding, “It is a crucial document that deserves the widest possible readership.”

The New Press publishes the country’s preeminent trade list of criminal justice titles, including Race to Incarcerate by Marc Mauer; The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which has been on the New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list for 132 weeks; Burning Down the House by Nell Bernstein, on juvenile justice; and the forthcoming Understanding Mass Incarceration by James Kilgore.

The New Press also has a notable history of publishing important primary source documents speaking to key aspects of U.S. history. One of The New Press’s earliest publications was a series of audio recordings and transcripts of U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, which became a bestseller when the Court tried to block publication. Other primary source publications include declassified government texts on the Iran-Contra scandal, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Torture Memos, as well as collections of White House e-mails and secret presidential recordings from the Oval Office.