Olayemi Olurin discusses how police television shows can contribute to ‘mass hysteria’ on crime

12/23/21

Olayemi Olurin, a public defender for the Legal Aid Society, spoke on Hill.TV’s “Rising” about how popular television shows about policing can create a “mass hysteria” within the public.

“I think, unfortunately, when we have conversations about criminal justice reform it normally gets framed as though it’s this progressives versus conservatives fight or that the number one impediment to criminal justice reform is the right,” Olurin said.

“But when you actually look at the day-to-day, progressives and Republicans alike are all tend to be similarly feeling, and I think that comes from shows not just like Law & Order, but Law & Order, Snapped, Blue Bloods, Lucifer. It’s tons of them,” she added.

“I think we are actually more aligned than we think across political spectrum when it comes to our underlying beliefs of the criminal system,” the public defender continued, noting that New York City, which is considered “a Democratic stronghold” faces “all of the same injustices” as more right-leaning communities. 

Olurin’s interview follows her op-ed in Teen Vogue, titled “Law & Order Taught Americans to Root for the Police.”

​​”We’re taught to fear and dislike the people caught in the crossfires of the criminal legal system, rather than to fear the system that inflicts pain on them,” she wrote in the op-ed earlier this month. “We are taught there are bad people who were just born bad, who do bad things, and that the only way to keep the good people safe is for police to do whatever they can to lock the bad people away.”

Social unrest and protests over policing have grown in recent years, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s 2020 murder by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

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