College of Law

Virtual David Harris Lecture

"Police/Civilian Confrontations and Deaths: How Often? Why? What Can We Do?"

On Sept. 11, 2020, the college hosted Professor David A. Harris of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law for a virtual lecture.

The killing of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake brought renewed and intense focus to an old problem: police confrontations with civilians that end in injury or death. How frequently does this happen? What role does race play? Why does it keep happening? Harris addressed these questions and discussed what can be done to stop the bloodshed.

"We were delighted to host Professor Harris to help us grapple with these difficult issues," said Rob Salem, associate dean for diversity and inclusion and clinical professor of law at the UToledo College of Law. "We all have a responsibility to listen carefully and engage affirmatively in anti-racist efforts."

David Harris

Harris is the Sally Ann Semenko Chair and professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and other courses.

Professor Harris devotes his research and writing to the study of police conduct, search and seizure law, and the intersection of race and criminal justice. He is the leading national authority on racial profiling. His 2002 book "Profiles in Injustice" and his many scholarly articles on the topic resulted in new laws and regulations in hundreds of American police departments. He is also the creator and host of the "Criminal Injustice" podcast. Since 2016, the podcast has been devoted to interviews with legal system actors, news analysis and commentary, on the most difficult problems in the criminal justice system.

In Pittsburgh and other communities around the country, Harris has applied his work to create better relationships between police and the communities they serve, particularly Black communities, to bring about both respectful, just policing and public safety. In 2015, Harris received the Jefferson Award for Public Service due to this work. His most recent book is called "A City Divided: Race, Fear, and the Law in Police Confrontations," published by Anthem Press in 2020.

Harris taught at The University of Toledo College of Law from 1990-2007, where he was the Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an LL.M. from Georgetown University.

Last Updated: 9/14/20