David Harris

Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair
Professor of Law


David Harris is the Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair and Professor of Law.  He studies, writes and teaches about police behavior, law enforcement and race, and search and seizure law.  He teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Evidence, and he is a certified Inside Out Prison Exchange instructor.  His most recent book, A City Divided: Race, Fear and the Law in Police Confrontations (Anthem Press, 2020) begins with a notorious police use of force incident in Pittsburgh, and uses the case explains why police confrontations with Black Americans go wrong far too often, and what can be done to stop this.  Professor Harris is the leading national authority on racial profiling. His 2002 book, Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (The New Press) and his scholarly articles in the field of traffic stops and stops and frisks influenced the national debate on profiling, and led to federal efforts to address the practice and to legislation and voluntary efforts in over half the states and hundreds of police departments. He has testified multiple times in the U.S. Congress and before many state legislative bodies. His other books include Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing (The New Press, 2005), and Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science (NYU Press, 2012). He gives talks and does professional training for law enforcement, judges, and attorneys throughout the country in subjects ranging from implicit bias in the legal system to the mechanics of police reform, and presents his work regularly in academic conferences.

Professor Harris is the creator and host of the Criminal Injustice podcast, a show for general audiences that covers the most important and pressing issues in the criminal justice system.  The show features Professor Harris’s interviews with compelling figures from across the spectrum:  police chiefs, judges, prosecutors, journalists and authors, policy wonks and advocates.  Other episodes cover news and answer listener questions.  Now in its sixth year and tenth season, Criminal Injustice reaches tens of thousands of listeners every month in every U.S. state and around the world.

Professor Harris also writes and comments frequently in the media on police practices, racial profiling, and other criminal justice and national security issues. He has appeared on The Today Show, Dateline NBC, National Public Radio, and has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, among many domestic and foreign media sources.  In 2020, he served on the Mayor’s Taskforce on Police Reform, created in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.  Professor Harris served as a member of the Civil Liberties Advisory Board to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. Professor Harris received the Excellence in Teaching Award at Pitt Law in 2009, and in 2015, he received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service, for his work building bridges between police and the communities they serve in Pittsburgh and around the country. 

Key/Recent Publications

Books and Chapters:

  • Racial Profiling, in Reforming Criminal Justice (E. Luna, ed.) (Academy of Justice, 2017).
  • The Dangers of Racialized Perception and Thinking by Law Enforcement​, in Deadly Injustice: Race, Criminal Justice and the Death of Trayvon Martin, A. Farrell, D. Johnson, K. Brown, eds. (NYU Press, expected 2015).
  • Profiling Unmasked: From Criminal Profiling to Racial Profiling, Alexander Papachristou, ed., Blind Goddess: A Reader on Race and Justice 49 (New Press, 2011). 
  • Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing, (New Press, 2005).
  • Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work, (New Press, 2003).


  • Terry Stops and Frisks: The Interplay Between Common Sense and Empiricism (with D. Rudovsky), 78 Ohio St. L. J. (forthcoming 2018). 
  • Riley v. California and the Beginning of the End for the Third Party Search Doctrine, 18 Penn J. Constitutional Law (publication forthcoming, 2016).
  • Across the Hudson: Taking the Stop and Frisk Debate Beyond New York City, 16 N.Y.U. J. Leg. and Public Policy 853 (2013).
  • Immigration and National Security: The Illusion of Safety Through Local Law Enforcement Action, 28 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law 2 (2011). 
  • Picture This: Body Worn Video Devices ('Head Cams') as Tools for Ensuring Fourth Amendment Compliance by Police, Texas Tech Law Review, (Forthcoming). Available on SSRN.
  • On the Contemporary Meaning of Korematsu: 'Liberty Lies in the Hearts of Men and Women', 76 Missouri Law Review 1 (Winter 2011). Available on SSRN.
  • Taser Use: Report of the Use of Force Working Group of Allegheny County (November 10, 2009), 71 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 719 (2010). Available on SSRN.
  • Law Enforcement and Intelligence Gathering in Muslim and Immigrant Communities After 9/11, 34 New York University Review of Law & Social Change (2010). Available on SSRN.
  • Book Review: "Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice." 25.1 Criminal Justice 44 (2010). Available on SSRN.
  • David A. Harris, How Accountability-Based Policing Can Reinforce - Or Replace - The Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 7, 2009. Available on SSRN
  • Law Enforcement and Intelligence Gathering in Muslim and Immigrant Communities After 9/11, 34 New York University Review of Law & Social Change 1 (2009).  Available on SSRN.
  • The Importance of Research on Race and Policing: Making Race Salient to Individuals and Institutions Within Criminal Justice, 6 Criminology & Public Policy 5 (2007). Available on SSRN.
  • How the Commander in Chief Power Swallowed the Rest of the Constitution, 26 Criminal Justice Ethics 44 (2007). Available on SSRN.
  • The War on Terror, Local Police, and Immigration Enforcement: A Curious Tale of Police Power in Post-9/11 America , 38 Rutgers L. J. 1 (2006). Available on SSRN.
  • Using Race or Ethnicity as a Factor in Assessing the Reasonableness of Fourth Amendment Activity: Description, Yes: Prediction, No (Symposium: The Permissibility of Race or Ethnicity as a Factor in Assessing the Reasonableness of a Search or Seizure) , 73 Miss. L. J. 423 (2003).
  • New Risk, New Tactics: An Assessment of the Re-Assessment of Racial Profiling In the Wake of September 11, 2001, 2004 Utah L. Rev. 913 (2004).
  • Teaching Criminal Law in the Post-9/11 World: If Everything Has Changed, So Must We, 48 St. Louis U. L. J. 1249 (2004). 
  • The Reality of Racial Disparity in Criminal Justice: The Significance of Data Collection, 66 Law & Contemp. Probs. 71 (2003).
  • Racial Profiling Redux, (Symposium: New Approaches to Ensuring the Legitimacy of Police Conduct), 22 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 73 (2003).


  • Lead U.S. Speaker, “Roundtable on Current Debates, Research Agendas, and Strategies to Address Racial Disparities in Police-Initiated Stops in the UK and USA,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice, (Aug. 2011).
  • Speaker, “Roundtable on Stop and Frisk Practices in the U.S.,” Convened by The Urban Institute, (Sept. 2011).
  • Speaker, “Pragmatism vs. Theory in Developing Police Accountability Systems,” Control of Police Misconduct in a Post-Exclusionary World: Can It Be Done?, St. Louis Univ. School of Law, (Feb. 2012).
  • “Racial Profiling and Muslims: Creating Real Safety and Security Through Intelligent Law Enforcement,” Univ. of Illinois College of Law, (March 2012).
  • Presenter, “The Impact of Profiling on Muslim Americans,” Muslim Americans and Civil Society, (April 2012). 

Other Activities

  • Facilitator/Advisor, U.S. Attorney’s Working Group on Civil Rights and Law Enforcement.
  • Expert Panel Witness, U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Hearing: 21st Century Policing: How Smart Policing Targets Criminal Behavior Testimony: Why Smart Policing Means Building Partnerships Between Police and the Communities They Serve.
  • U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Testimony: “Ending Racial Profiling in America”.
  • Consultant, U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Speaker, Speech on Racial Profiling for the Twentieth Century Club.
  • Speaker for Allegheny Co. Bar Assn. Young Lawyers Division Event, (Feb. 2012). 

Programs & Courses