The Riders Come Out at Night

The Riders Come Out at Night
From the Polk Award-winning investigative duo comes "a meticulously researched and enraging account" (Shane Bauer, New York Times bestselling author) of the systematic corruption and brutality within the Oakland Police Department, and the more than two-decades-long saga of attempted reforms and explosive scandals.

No municipality has been under court oversight to reform its police department as long as the city of Oakland. It is, quite simply, the edge case in American law enforcement.

The Riders Come Out at Night is the culmination of over twenty-one years of fearless reporting. Ali Winston and Darwin BondGraham shine a light on the jackbooted and sadistic cops known as "The Riders," and the lack of political will and misguided leadership that have conspired to stymie meaningful reform. The authors trace the history of Oakland since its inception through the lens of the city's police department, through the Palmer Raids, McCarthyism, and the Civil Rights struggle, the Black Panthers and crack eras, to Oakland's present-day revival.

Those who have fought for reform are also revealed, including Keith Batt, a wide-eyed rookie cop turned whistleblower, who was unwittingly partnered with the leader of the Riders, and Jim Chanin and John Burris, two dedicated civil rights attorneys. Meanwhile, Oakland's deep history of law enforcement corruption, reactionary politics, and social movement organizing is retold through historical figures like Black Panther Huey Newton, drug kingpin Felix Mitchell, district attorney and future Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, and Mayor Jerry Brown.

"As thrilling as the best noir fiction" (Whiting Foundation, 2021 Creative Nonfiction Grant Jury), The Riders Come Out at Night is the story of one city and its police department, but it's also the story of American policing--and where it's headed.

Publication Date: 
March 12, 2024