Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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Alternative Dispatch Programs: A Strategy for Improving Emergency Responses and Reducing Police Violence

June 4, 2021

Approximately 240 million calls are made to 911 every year in the United States. Only a small fraction of these calls are for serious or violent crimes. Even in communities with high homicide rates such as Baltimore, Camden, New Haven, and New Orleans, fewer than 4 percent of 911 calls are related to violent crimes. Instead, the majority of these calls are related to incidents of disorderly conduct, noise complaints, suspicious people or cars, mental health issues, substance use, and homelessness.Programs that deploy public health professionals and crisis workers to situations involving mental health, substance use, and homelessness—referred to as alternative dispatch programs—offer an emerging solution that can save lives and provide critical services to those in need. Alternative dispatch programs utilize first responders who are specifically trained to resolve the emergencies that most commonly arise in communities with methods that address root problems and minimize the risk of force or deeper involvement with the justice system. These programs provide communities with a critical means for addressing crises, while also freeing police to focus on preventing and solving serious crimes.

Deaths of People of Color By Law Enforcement Are Severely Under-Counted

May 1, 2021

Beginning in early 2021, the Raza Database Project, a team of volunteer researchers, journalists, family members of Latinos killed by police, and activists came together to investigate a long-suspected undercount of the deaths of Latinos and other people of color by or in the custody of law enforcement. The Project's Director, Roberto "Dr. Cintli" Rodríguez, himself a survivor of police abuse, began his inquiry into thesubject in 2016 by comparing well-known Hispanic surnames with the names of individuals reported in the "White," "Other," and "Unknown" categories of national databases of police killings that were created following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. His initial inquiry concluded that deaths of Latino and Indigenous people at the hands of police were under-counted in widely reported national databases by a quarter to one-third. He also called attention to media narrativesthat virtually ignored the killings of Latinos by law enforcement, even in Southern California, the largest Hispanic media market in the country.

Gun Violence and the Police

June 29, 2020

Gun violence is a uniquely American epidemic, and gun violence by police is, too. Every year, police in America shoot and kill more than 1,000 people. The combination of systemic racism, white supremacy, America's gun culture, and the militarization of police is toxic—and Black people, in particular, are paying with their lives.

Tracking Body Camera Implementation

June 8, 2020

Body cameras are rapidly becoming the norm in communities across the country. Campaign Zero reviewed available police department body camera policies from the largest 30 cities in America to determine whether this new technology is being implemented in ways that ensure accountability and fairness while protecting communities from surveillance.

Reform Strategies

Bail Reform 2020

February 21, 2020

In 2019, New York enacted historic pretrial reforms that will result in a dramatic reduction in pretrial detention populations across the state by eliminating bail and pretrial detention for most misdemeanors and non-violentfelonies. That means, in most cases, a person's liberty will not depend on how much money they have.

Bail & Pretrial Reform

Bail Reform in New York: The Facts

December 12, 2019

Fact sheet about bail reform in New York, including how the law will affect New Yorkers, as well as the hard data illustrating the personal, economic and systemic impact of money bail and pretrial jailing on individuals, families and communities.

Bail & Pretrial Reform

Presumed Innocent for a Price: The Impact of Cash Bail Across Eight New York Counties

March 13, 2018

Across New York State tens of thousands of New Yorkers are held in city and county jails, not because they have been convicted of a crime, but because they cannot afford to pay for their release while awaiting trial.The harms of unaffordable cash bail are unequivocal: people lose their jobs, homes and families while detained. People also forfeit their rights to trial when pleading guilty in exchange for release. Yet little has been known about how many people across the state have been locked up because they did not have the means to pay bail, about the charges they faced or how long they were kept in jail.To better understand the impact of bail practices in New York, in 2015 the New York Civil Liberties Union sent Freedom of Information Law requests to a sample of eight small, medium and large counties across the state asking for five years of data. The information we received offers a stark glimpse into what New Yorkers have had to endure.

Joint Remedial Process in Floyd v. City of New York: What You Need to Know

July 1, 2017

In August 2013, a federal judge found that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had engaged in a widespread practice of unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stops and frisks and ordered a collaborative, joint remedial process (JRP) to develop a set of reforms that will help bring the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices into compliance with the Constitution. The judge highlighted the importance of getting this input, writing at the time, "No amount of legal or policing expertise can replace a community's understanding of the likely practical consequences of reforms in terms of both liberty and safety." The JRP ensures that communities who have been directly affected by these practices will have direct input into shaping the future of stop and frisk in New York. The JRP was envisioned to solicit ideas for additional reforms from communities most impacted by stops and frisks. In addition to community stakeholders, the process will involve the City, members of law enforcement, local elected officials, organizations with expertise in policing and criminal justice attorneys representing the plaintiffs. This process echoes a similar process successfully implemented in Cincinnati, Ohio over a decade ago to address systemic abusive and biased policing practices. Guiding this process is the court-appointed Facilitator, Hon. Ariel Belen.

Stop & Frisk

Student Safety Act Reporting 2016 in Review

May 8, 2017

The Student Safety Act (SSA) requires that the New York City Police Department publically issue quarterly reports on arrests, summonses, and other police-involved incidents in New York City public schools. The 2016 calendar year marked the first time that the NYPD reported on activity by officers outside of the School Safety Division, giving a more complete picture of the enormous impact police have on the educational environment. Since 2012, the number of arrests and summonses issued by School Safety Officers (SSOs) has consistently declined. However, in 2016, SS0s were responsible for less than 12% of arrests and 2% of summonses. Thus, this decline in reported incidents is only a fraction of the picture. 2016 is the first year for which school-based incidents involving not only SSOs, but all NYPD personnel, were reported.

Police Data

To Protect and Serve: New Trends in State-Level Policing Reform, 2015-2016 (Fact Sheet)

April 4, 2017

The work of law enforcement involves countless low-visibility duties that are often risky, challenging, and dangerous. Over the last three years, however, members of the public have brought increased attention to incidents of police-community conflict, violence, and misconduct, sparked by several high-profile deaths of people of color, many of them unarmed, during seemingly routine police encounters. These incidents—many of which were captured unfiltered on video and widely disseminated—have resulted in scrutiny of police officer behavior and, in particular, have reignited a debate over the extent to which police may use deadly force against civilians. The ensuing public attention has also signaled a marked erosion in police-community relations and perceptions of police legitimacy and accountability. At the same time, killings of police officers in New York City, Dallas, and Baton Rouge increased concerns about officer safety. To address these issues, localities, states, and the federal government have begun to examine ways to increase public confidence and police safety. In all, 34 states and the District of Columbia enacted at least 79 bills, executive orders, or resolutions in 2015 and 2016 to change some aspect of policing policy or practice—a marked contrast to the relatively few laws related to policing that were passed by states between 2012 and 2014.

5 Things You Need to Know About Stop, Question, and Frisk

March 1, 2017

"Terry Stops," based on reasonable suspicion, have been sanctioned and used by law enforcement since 1968 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Terry v. Ohio (392 U.S. 1 (1968)). When performed in the manner authorized by the courts, Terry Stops remain a Constitutional practice today.In 2013, a federal district court ruled in Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., that the manner in which the New York City Police Department (NYPD) applied the tactic between January 2004 and June of 2012 violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment and thus was unconstitutional.The use of "Stop, Question and Frisk" (SQF) as a crime reduction or deterrence strategy has been scientifcally studied. Weisburd, et al. (2016) analyzed data on NYPD's SQFs from 2006 to 2011 and found these stops "produce a modest deterrent effect on crime", citing a likely 2% (two percent) reduction attributable to SQF. The study notes "We think it is time for scholars to recognize that SQFs focused on microgeographic hot spots are likely to reduce crime." The study noted the less positive findings of other studies that considered the impact of SQF in larger geographic areas such as precinct and city-level, gun recoveries, etc.Extremely important however, is the study's further conclusion, noting that the broad application and use of SQF is highly objectionable by many, exacerbates our crisis of legitimacy and trust, and is likely not worth the social and operational costs to implement broadly. Agencies should review all of the evidence before considering the use of SQF as a deterrence strategy, particularly when other effective options exist.

Stop and Frisk's Effect on Crime in New York City

October 1, 2016

This fact sheet provides data on the effect of "stop-and-frisk" on crime in New York City, updating an earlier Brennan Center analysis. Stop-and-frisk was a police practice under which officers stopped and searched citizens, allegedly without the reasonable suspicion required for these interventions. Concerns about the program first arose under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during William J. Bratton's first tenure as police commissioner. After growing slowly in the early 2000s, stop-and-frisk began to rapidly increase in 2006, when there were 500,000 stops citywide. By 2011 the number peaked at 685,000. It then began to fall, first to 533,000 stops in 2012. Stop-and-frisk became a central issue in the 2013 city mayoral race because of a concern that the program unconstitutionally targeted communities of color. The program's supporters disputed this, insisting that stop-and-frisk was essential for fighting crime in such a huge city. In August 2013, federal district court judge Shira Scheindlin found that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional. The stop-and-frisk era formally drew to a close in January 2014, when newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio settled the litigation and ended the program. Given this large-scale effort, one might expect crime generally, and murder specifically, to increase as stops tapered off between 2012 and 2014. Instead, as shown below, the murder rate fell while the number of stops declined. In fact, the biggest fall occurred precisely when the number of stops also fell by a large amount — in 2013.