Shielded was inspired by the national reckoning on race and policing after Floyd’s death... Schwartz’s prescription would be most effective if the biggest problem were bad-apples cops. 'We cannot wait for another viral video to restart our national conversation about police violence and reform,' she writes. But, inevitably, new videos of police misconduct have gone viral since Schwartz wrote those words, and they suggest a different problem: The system is working the way it’s supposed to work ... Schwartz notes that the criminal legal system 'desperately needs repair,' a claim that seems confirmed by the book’s exceptionally lucid and well-argued analysis. Still, when an apparently innocent citizen... is tortured and executed by armed agents of the state, reform seems not only unambitious but inadequate. And, of course, if the system is not broken — if it is working the way it is supposed to work — there is nothing to fix.
Schwartz’s expertise in criminal justice law shines in Shielded. The book is part research and part history ... But this is no legalese-filled academic treatise. It’s incredibly engaging because Schwartz smoothly weaves the human story into each case she explains. After all, there is a real person behind every story of police misconduct ... a meaningful, well-researched and readable work.