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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A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform

April 1, 2020

This report details marijuana arrests from 2010 to 2018 and examines racial disparities at the national, state, and county levels. The report reveals that the racist war on marijuana is far from over. More than six million arrests occurred between 2010 and 2018, and Black people are still more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana. With detailed recommendations for governments and law enforcement agencies, this report provides a detailed road map for ending the War on Marijuana and ensuring legalization efforts center racial justice.

Racial Bias & Profiling

Bullies In Blue: Origins and Consequences of School Policing

April 1, 2017

This new ACLU white paper, "Bullies in Blue: Origins and Consequences of School Policing," explores the beginnings of school policing in the United States and sheds light on the negative consequences of the increasing role of police and links it to both the drivers of punitive criminal justice policies and mass incarceration nationwide. The report traces a line back to the struggle to end Jim Crow segregation during the civil rights movement, and challenges assumptions that the function of police in schools is to protect children. It posits that police are police, and in schools they will act as police, and in those actions bring the criminal justice system into our schools and criminalizing our kids.

Reform Strategies

Picking Up the Pieces: A Minneapolis Case Study

April 15, 2015

The report digs into 33 months of data the ACLU obtained from the police department and explores the who, what, when, where, why, and how of low-level arrests occurring in a city known for its affluence and liberal politics. The report also recommends reforms to begin the process of improving police-community relations and ensuring that all Minneapolitans are policed fairly.

Reform Strategies; Traffic Stops

The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests

June 1, 2013

The aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws needlessly ensnares hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system and wastes billions of taxpayers' dollars. What's more, it is carried out with staggering racial bias. Despite being a priority for police departments nationwide, the War on Marijuana has failed to reduce marijuana use and availability and diverted resources that could be better invested in our communities.

Racial Bias & Profiling

The Persistence Of Racial And Ethnic Profiling In The United States

June 29, 2009

A Follow-Up Report To The U.N. Committee On The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination.