Policing the Pandemic: Counter Mapping the Expansion of COVID-19



Across Canada, there has been an extraordinary scaling-up of police powers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although initially, the idea circulated that COVID-19 impacted all people equally, this notion was quickly dispelled as the race and class dynamics of the pandemic became apparent. Concerned that these same dynamics would shape the application of laws and policing practices designed to contain illness, on April 4 2020, we began to monitor COVID-related police incidents across the country. Our project, called the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project, has quickly grown into a living data repository of publicly accessible information and commentary about the emergent impacts of police responses to COVID-19. In this talk, we will reflect on the major findings of this project so far, situating them in a broader conversation about policing, inequality, and the criminalization of communicable disease. Particular attention will be paid to the dual crises currently faced by marginalized and racialized people across Canada, the crisis of COVID and the crisis of policing.

May 27, 2020