Race and Policing
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Recognizing that systemic change can only be achieved through comprehensive action, Campaign Zero proposes ten categories of policy solutions to end police violence in America. Among these, the policies that govern how and when officers are allowed to use force against civilians requires immediate attention and intervention. The police killed over 600 people in America in the first seven months of 2016, enabled and protected by laws and policies that allow police to use force, both deadly and otherwise, with little to no accountability.Police violence is distributed disproportionally, with black people being 3x more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. This violence, in practice, is justified by legal and administrative policies that govern how and when police can use force against civilians. In theory, police departments establish rules regarding the use of force,which include the expectation and power to discipline officers who fail to uphold the department's standards.Instead, many police departments fail to establish common sense restrictions on police use of force – including deadly force – that would actually benefit the communities they are supposed to protect and serve. According to our findings, fundamentally changing use of force polices can dramatically reduce the number of people killed by police in America.
Police union contracts and statewide Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights laws have created a system ofprotections for police officers that amount to an alternate justice system, creating significant legal and structural barriers to accountability, transparency, and fairness. Of at least 4,024 people killed by police since 2013, only 85 of these cases have led to an officer being charged with a crime. Only 6 cases have led to convictions – fewer than 0.2% of known police killings. Data from some of America's largest police departments show that officers who commit misconduct rarely face administrative consequences, either. It is not surprising that police officers are rarely, if ever, held responsible for their behavior, as the combination of provisions in police union contracts and Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights constitute de facto immunity from liability.Collective bargaining agreements (i.e. contracts) are simply meant to allow due process: employees negotiate with an employer over matters of working conditions, compensation, benefits, and performance management as a group, thus increasing the employee's collective bargaining power. These agreements are meant to ensure that workers are treated fairly, with dignity and respect. They are not meant to denyother citizens fairness, dignity and respect.But that is exactly what police union contracts have done.Police unions across the country have used the collective bargaining process to circumvent basic tenets ofaccountability, transparency, and fairness. In short, as a result of these contracts police officers operate bya completely different set of rules. In many cases, the problematic clauses contained within these contractsappear harmless on the surface but, as our analysis shows, they impose severe restrictions on the ability of police departments and civilian oversight structures to hold officers accountable for police violence.