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A former public defender who wrote a book on lawyers being complicit in the injustice of the criminal justice system will be the guest speaker at the next Conversations on Race and Policing, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, on Zoom.

Alec Karakatsanis, now a civil rights lawyer and social justice advocate, will discuss his work and his book, “Unusual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Justice System.” The livestream of the program, which is free and open to the public, can be accessed from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at

Karakatsanis is the founder of the Civil Rights Corps, an organization designed to advocate for racial justice and bring systemic civil rights cases on behalf of impoverished people. Karakatsanis was named the 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice and was awarded the Stephen B. Bright Award for contributions to indigent defense in the South by Gideon’s Promise. You can follow his Twitter feed, where he posts regularly, especially on problems in the media coverage of policing and criminal justice.

Alec Karakatsanis
Alec Karakatsanis

Conversations on Race and Policing, also known as CoRP, began in the aftermath of the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd while in the custody of four Minneapolis, Minn., police officers. A video of the incident posted on social media led to widespread protests, the firing of four police officers, the arrest and conviction of one officer on a second-degree murder and related charges, the other three on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder – and a spotlight worldwide on race and policing.

The series has featured scholars, journalists, law enforcement officers, lawyers, activists, artists, educators, administrators and others from throughout the nation who shared their experience and expertise on issues related to race and policing.

More than 50 forums have taken place, and video recordings of the sessions are posted online on the Conversations on Race and Policing Lecture Series Archive. 

The series is organized by CSUSB students, staff and faculty, including recent history master of arts graduate, Cecelia Smith; history master of arts student Matt Patino; Mary Texeira, professor emerita, sociology; Jeremy Murray, professor of history; Robie Madrigal, public affairs/communication specialist for the CSUSB John M. Pfau Library; and community member Stan Futch, president of the Westside Action Group.

The spring semester lineup of Conversations on Race and Policing, each at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, includes:

For more information, contact Robie Madrigal at or Jeremy Murray at