We’re inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us. We’re living in a world of connections – and it matters which ones get made and unmade. ~Donna Haraway

Areas of Interest: Police Violence and Militarism/ization | Queer Safety | Queer Informal Legal Cultures | Abolition and Utopia

Police Violence and Militarism

Queer Safety and Utopia

Articles in Progress

Grasso, Jordan. “an explosion out of capitalism: Mapping And Counter Mapping Queer Los Angeles.”

The gay bar serves as a homeplace for many LGBTQ+ people. Today, there are less than thirty lesbian bars left in the United States, with each opening or closing often garnering national press attention. This paper explores the existence of spaces throughout Los Angeles that are created by and for lesbians, queer women, and gender-expansive people by first describing Queer Maps, an online archive of LGBTQ+ spaces in Los Angeles. I then turn to the maps constructed by discussions of queer and lesbian spaces in news articles, all published following the opening of a new lesbian bar in Los Angeles in February 2023. Utilizing the apparent gaps in each, I draw on black feminist geographies to construct a new map of Los Angeles that simultaneously critiques the former examples and capitalism while presenting a more holistic and queer vision of spatiality. I point to the movement of a queer, non-binary artist as they maneuvered the city, publicly creating their painting titled “an explosion out of capitalism.” I conclude with a discussion and critique of the role of capitalism as a central tenet of the legibility and visibility of lesbian and queer spaces.

Grasso, Jordan, and Kariar Al-Naiem. “’Increase Police Training!’: An Analysis of Hours Spent on Police Training and Outcomes of Violence.”

Since the “professional era of policing,” police reform has focused extensively on the opportunity to reduce the use of force and violent outcomes caused by police during contact with the community. Following nearly every incident of police violence that receives mainstream attention, the public, policymakers, and police alike suggest increasing budgets to better equip officers with opportunities to gain further training and potentially learn de-escalation techniques. In this study, we utilize data from the National Officer Involved Homicide Data and California Open Justice Data to explore the departmental relationship between the total number of required training hours and outcomes of police violence. Results indicate that departments that require more in-service training hours, compared to departments that require less, there are significantly more outcomes of violence in the form of deaths caused by police violence. Drawing together differential association theory and previous research on police culture, we argue that by increasing the number of hours spent in training, police are gaining more exposure to a culture that traditionally values warrior mentalities and upholds a danger imperative. Thus, increasing the requirements for training is counterproductive as a police reform tactic. To quote Alex Vitale (2018), these findings suggest that “the problem is not police training” and viewing police training as the smoking gun reinforces the cultures that foster violence in the first place.

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