Greensboro bookstore social justice series to feature Law Professor Shawn Fields

Photo of Professor Sean Fields book cover

GREENSBORO – Campbell Law School’s Professor Shawn E. Fields will present his new bestselling book, “Neighborhood Watch: Policing White Spaces in America,” as part of a series on social justice with an independent bookstore in downtown Greensboro. His presentation and book signing will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, at Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St.

Scuppernong Book’s series “Carceral Country” invites community members to discuss issues of American policing and incarceration systems with authors, journalists and activists who are experts in their respective disciplines. The series begins on Sept. 23 with a conversation about death row and runs through Nov. 11 with a presentation by Winston-Salem author Phoebe Zerwick about her book featuring the life of Darryl Hunt, who was exonerated after serving 19 years in jail. 

Fields will specifically address white vigilantism and over-policing as he headlines the fourth segment of the ambitious eight-part series.  

Fields’ book addresses a number of issues, including racist 911 calls and hoaxes, vigilante “self-defense” and “grassroots voter suppression.” While the Black victims of these actions are often subjected to harassment, arrest, injury or death as a result, “Neighborhood Watch” examines how these actions are often “promoted and encouraged by legislatures looking to expand racially discriminatory laws, a police system designed to respond with force to any frivolous report of Black ‘mischief’ and a Supreme Court that has abdicated its role in rejecting police abuse.” In response, Fields offers propositions for reform, “including changes to the ‘maximum policing’ state, increased accountability for civilians who abuse emergency response systems and proposals to demilitarize the color line.”  

The book also hits on timely local topics, including the killing of Elizabeth City resident Andrew Brown Jr, whose family’s civil case was settled for $3 million this summer, just a year after his death.   

Fields writes and teaches about criminal law, criminal procedure, police practices, racial justice and immigration law. He is the 2019 recipient of the Charles and Catherine Thomas Faculty Scholarship Award, Campbell Law School’s highest award for scholarly impact and productivity. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Fields serves as an advisor to the American Bar Association’s Legal Education Police Practices Consortium.  

Fields’s scholarship has appeared in The University of Chicago Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, U.C. Davis Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, Washington Law Review and other top journals. He has been cited by multiple state and federal courts, including two state supreme courts. His most recent article is set to be published in Volume 90 of the University of Chicago Law Review in the coming months, and is entitled, “The Fourth Amendment Without Police.”   

In the early part of his career, Fields was associated with the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins LLP, where he practiced white-collar criminal law. He then moved to Tanzania, where he held dual appointments as a Senior Legal Officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Country Director for Asylum Access, a refugee rights legal aid NGO. Upon his return to the United States, Fields practiced civil litigation and served as a California criminal appellate specialist representing clients raising constitutional challenges to police and prosecutorial misconduct. He also served on the San Diego Community Review Board on Police Practices and taught Legal Writing at the University of San Diego School of Law.  

Fields holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Boston University School of Law, where he served as an Articles Editor for the Boston University Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in political science from Yale University.  


Scuppernong Books and Scuppernong Editions present a new fall series of eight events investigating issues of social justice and the Carceral State, titled “Carceral Country.”

The series, which is a mix of in-store and online events, is free and brings together authors, journalists and activists from a variety of disciplines to discuss policing and incarceration in North Carolina and across the country. The community is invited to be a part of these conversations. 

“We want to reconsider how we might shift the way we approach policing, the criminal justice system, and incarceration by bringing together not only experts, but those who have worked in these systems as well as those victimized by them,” the bookstore website says. “These conversations will be recorded as podcasts and made available on the Scuppernong social media network.”

A reading list, as well as a list of organizations involved with these issues, can be found at this link.


“The Death Penalty and Death Row” 

6 p.m. Friday, Sept.  23 

Tessie Castillo and N.C. Death Row inmates, “Inside: Voices from Death Row”

The Prison Abolition Movement 

VIRTUAL: 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29

Marlon Peterson, “Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist’s Freedom Song “

An Evening with Beth Macy 

6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 6

“Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis” 

Union Square Bldg. 124 E Gate City Blvd. 

White Vigilantism and Over-Policing 

6 p.m on Friday, Oct.14 

Shawn Fields, “Neighborhood Watch: Policing White Spaces in America” 

Plea Bargains, Due Process, and the Constitution 

6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27

Carissa Byrne Hessick, “Punishment without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal” 

The Border Patrol as National Police Force 

VIRTUAL: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov.  9

Reece Jones, “Nobody is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States” 

Jenn Budd, “Against the Wall: My Journey from Border Patrol Agent to Immigrant Rights Activist” 

False Convictions and Innocence 

6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11

Phoebe Zerwick, “Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt” 


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law School has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,700 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 12 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City. 



Scuppernong Books opened on December 21, 2013 and has been an essential part of the rebirth of downtown Greensboro ever since. It is a general interest/literary bookstore featuring fiction and poetry along with a remarkable children’s section and a broad range of general interest titles.  


Within the store is a cafe serving organic coffee and espresso, wine, and beer sourced primarily from local small businesses. Scuppernong also partners with Jerusalem Market for sandwiches, salads and more substantial fare.  


Scuppernong Books also hosts hundreds of events a year, bringing in writers from around the world, the country, and the state. In 2019, the bookstore hosted over 250 writers, as well as theatre, music, dance, and community conversation.  


In 2017, Scuppernong Books was instrumental in the formation of the Greensboro Literary Organization, a separate non-profit organization which stages the annual Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, and brings authors into the Guilford County Schools through their Authors Engaging Students program. 


In 2018, the store formed Scuppernong Editions, an eclectic small press. 

Scuppernong Books believes that independent bookstores have an important role to fill in a community.  


Scuppernong Books hopes to live up to that responsibility with an openness to ideas, a respect for all the individuals that make up our Greensboro community, and a willingness to have fun doing so.