Race and Policing
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This report, "Protest During Pandemic: D.C. Police Kettling of Racial Justice Demonstrators on Swann Street," is a collaboration of the ACLU of the District of Columbia, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Sidley Austin LLP.On the evening of June 1, 2020, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) deployed significant force in and around Swann Street, a narrow residential street in Northwest D.C. to detain more than 200 people who had been protesting police brutality and excessive force in the wake of George Floyd's murder. These protesters were arrested on a single, common charge — violation of the Mayor's 7:00 p.m. curfew. Protesters were penned together in single residential city block and transported around the city for processing and arrest in vehicles that didn't allow for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting their health and lives at unnecessary risk.The report is based on interviews with more than 50 individual eyewitnesses, including protestors who were kettled and Swann Street residents who witnessed the events from their homes. In addition, we reviewed photos and video footage taken during the June 1 events, as well as other evidence available from the existing public record. Based on this review, we have identified multiple serious questions raised by MPD's actions that night. The report also provides recommendations to the D.C. Council for police response to First Amendment assemblies.
This is an update to the June 16, 2020 report published by the ACLU-DC and ACLU Analytics, "Racial Disparities in Stops by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department". The original report analyzed five months of data collected pursuant to the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results (NEAR) Act on stops conducted by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) from July 22, 2019, to December 31, 2019.This update analyzes the stops conducted by MPD between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The 2020 stops data show that MPD continues to disproportionately stop and search Black people in the District. The stark racial disparities present in the 2019 stop data have not changed. The 2020 data, like the 2019 data, support community members' repeated assertions that MPD's stop practices unfairly over police the Black community and require serious scrutiny and structural change.