Prof: Protests could lead to police reform

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Ohio Wesleyan University politics and government professor James Franklin, Ph.D., says the widespread protests set off by George Floyd’s killing have the potential to create “the broad and persistent public pressure needed” to force police reform in the United States and beyond.

Franklin, whose research interests involve human rights and developing countries, shares his thoughts in a new article, “Protesting Against Oppression,” published June 25 in the online magazine Political Violence at a Glance.

In the article, he draws upon his latest research, “Human Rights on the March: Repression, Oppression, and Protest in Latin America,” published separately this spring in the academic journal International Studies Quarterly.

Through this research, Franklin found that Brazil and Venezuela have experienced far more abuses connected to the criminal justice system than Argentina and Chile. He argues the difference is the strong human rights movements in the latter two countries.

“As the cases of Argentina and Chile suggest,” Franklin states in his essay, “the energy and attention from protests need to be channeled into reform efforts. It will not be easy – but the protests bring the potential for the broad and persistent public pressure needed for difficult police reforms.

“The protests have extended around the world as well – including protests in Brazil against President Bolsonaro and police violence against blacks,” Franklin continues. “This raises the hope of addressing the oppression of racial minorities and other marginalized groups in multiple countries around the world.”

Franklin joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2000 and teaches courses including Latin American Politics, Comparative Political Issues, and topical courses on Democratization and on Protest and Political Violence.

Learn more about Franklin and about the OWU Department of Politics and Government at

Read more articles from Ohio Wesleyan faculty exploring antiracism issues at


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