Race and policing
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Nationwide, policymakers and the public are considering how best to address crime. Deeper insights on policing should guide decisions about its funding and role in the provision of public safety. Traditional cost-benefit analyses usually find policing to be "cost-effective," meaning it creates benefits that exceed its costs. Yet a range of policing activities can result in "social costs" that are not typically considered. As a result of police activity, people can suffer physical and behavioral health problems; lose educational opportunities, jobs, and housing; and withdraw from civic engagement. An emerging body of research illuminates the extent of these social costs, which are borne primarily by Black communities and other overpoliced communities of color. Vera researchers created this report and fact sheet to fill a critical gap in understanding the holistic costs of relying on policing as a primary approach to safety.
This report outlines recommendations for a unilateral reimagining of public safety systems. It details guidance for redirecting police services to critical areas of public need and building a network of systems and services to support community needs and ensure measures of safety for the entire community.The recommendations are designed to address racial disparities and reduce the harm caused by the reliance on police. The report addresses gaps and inconsistencies in law enforcement policies, staffing and resourcing needs in the police department, and a need for improvement in both oversight and community resources. The recommendations are divided into suggestions to the Mayor's Office, the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, and guidance to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD).
Color Of Change and Public Accountablity Initiative/LittleSis have compiled the most extensive report to date of the links between police foundations and corporations, identifying over 1,200 corporate donations or executives serving as board members at 23 of the largest police foundations in the country. This is the largest known study identifying the acute threat that police foundations pose to Black and Brown communities and democracy.
"No Police in Schools: A Vision for Safe and Supportive Schools in CA" analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), the 2019 California Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) Stops dataset, and data from Stockton Unified School District on police in schools. The data conclusively show harmful and discriminatory policing patterns in schools. School police contribute to the criminalization of tens of thousands of California students, resulting in them being pushed out of school and into the school-to-prison pipeline. Critically, the data suggest that schools underreport the number of assigned law enforcement officers, so these problems are likely even more severe.
"Chasing Justice" reviews and cross-analyzes data Baltimore Police Department provided to Code for America's Project Comport, which includes with five years of information about misconduct complaints, use of force incidents, and officer-involved shootings, from 2015 through 2019. The purpose of the report is to examine 1) race disparities in different aspects of policing, 2) how police departments contribute to violence in the community and further distrust of both the legal justice system and internal disciplinary process; and 3) the consequences of failing to hold officers and departments accountable.
Throughout history, the US has created laws that have discriminated against people of color, and as a result, examples of differential treatment on the basis of race can be found throughout the criminal legal system. This brief aims to provide a comprehensive overview of racial disparities at each level of the criminal legal system and highlight how each decision point of the system impacts the next, resulting in continuous, disparate outcomes for people of color. Our findings suggest that in order to address these disparities, researchers must approach their work with appropriately contextualized research questions and an understanding of the language they use. Additionally, researchers should frame reported statistics with the appropriate historical setting, and actively approach research through community engaged methods.
Policing in America has always been the entry into the criminal justice system. A system which has clear links to slavery, Black Codes and Jim Crows laws, now looks like police brutality and mass incarceration. For some, policing in America has never been synonymous to public safety—the bold idea that all people should feel safe in their homes and communities. The National Urban League produced its 21 Pillars for Redefining Public Safety and Restoring Community Trust ("21 Pillars") to offer a framework for advocacy that redefines public safety and restores community trust – paving a way beyond the status quo. Our forward-thinking plan is emphasized by five key themes designed to promote the protection and preservation of life, dignity, and trust, while also building safer communities. The five themes are:Collaborate with Communities to Re-Envision Public SafetyAccountability Change Divisive Policing Policies Require Transparency, Reporting and Data CollectionImprove Hiring Standards and TrainingFor too long communities around the nation, particularly Black communities, have had their lives, safety, and freedom threatened by discriminatory and violent policing. Our communities deserve to feel safe in their homes, in their cars, and on their streets, including being safe from police violence. The 21 Pillars presents a look at what is possible – a plan forward. Public safety must be re-envisioned.
As a result of years of persistent multi-organizational advocacy, the public has access to data on policing in New York City public schools. First passed in 2011 and then amended in 2015, the "Student Safety Act" mandates that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) post quarterly datasets. As ofAugust 2021, there are now five full school years of reporting on school policing. From the 2016-2017 school year to 2021-2021, there have been a total of 40,233 reports of school-based police interventions. During that time, Black girls represented 57% of all school-based police interventions targeting girls, but made up only 22% of the girls in the public school system.
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.
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.
This report provides the results of an eight-month research study evaluating how the City of Columbus, Ohio, inclusive of elected officials and the Columbus Division of Police (CPD), managed the protests in Columbus from May 28 through July 19, 2020. The purpose of the research study was three-fold: document interactions between community members and law enforcement personnel as a part of the protests; evaluate the City of Columbus's preparation for and response to the protests; and generate research-informed recommendations about how to improve the performance of the City of Columbus in preparing for and responding to future protests.
A collection of data on policing in Kansas including arrest disparities by race, law enforcement spending, use of force tracking, ICE arrests, and more.