Race and policing
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Funded by the National Institute of Justice [15PNIJ-21-GG-02817-RESS], we used publicly available federal sentencing data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission to measure racial disparities for multiple race groups and stages of sentencing over time (fiscal years 1999-2021). We 1) measured racial disparities between matched cases across three stages of federal sentencing, represented by two elements each; 2) identified at which points in time the disparities changed significantly using time series plots and structured break analyses; and 3) used this information to systematically review federal policies to identify which might have contributed to significant decreases in racial disparities. In this report, we discuss the study's purpose, methods, results, and conclusions.
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.
Stark racial inequity has long been a deeply troubling aspect of our criminal justice system. In recent years, traffic stops have emerged as a key factor driving some of these inequities and an area of potential reform. Are there opportunities to identify kinds of traffic stops that could be enforced in alternative ways—potentially improving officer and civilian safety, enhancing police efficiency, and reducing racial disparities—without jeopardizing road safety?To explore this question, in this report we use data on 3.4 million traffic stops made in 2019 by California's 15 largest law enforcement agencies to examine racial disparities in stop outcomes and experiences across time of the day, type of law enforcement agency, and type of traffic violation.
The United States signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ("ICERD" or "Convention") in 1966. President Lyndon Johnson's administration noted at the time that the United States "has not always measured up to its constitutional heritage of equality for all" but that it was "on the march" toward compliance. The United States finally ratified the Convention in 1994 and first reported on its progress in implementing the Convention to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ("CERD" or "Committee") in 2000. In August 2022, the Committee will examine the combined 10th – 12th periodic reports by the United States on compliance with the Convention. This report supplements the submission of the government with additional information in key areas and offers recommendations that will, if adopted, enhance the government's ability to comply with ICERD.
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.
The first part of this report is an update to Amnesty International's 2015 report Deadly Force: Police use of lethal force in the United States, which reviewed state use of lethal force laws in all 50 states and Washington D.C. The second part of the report focuses on the policing of protests that have occurred in cities across the USA since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Amnesty International reviewed over 500 videos of protests and documented 125 separate incidents of police violence against protestors in 40 states and the District of Columbia between May 26th and June 5th of 2020. This report also draws on Amnesty International's interviews with 50 individuals, including protestors, journalists, legal observers and street medics, and a review of media reports, medical reports, photos, and videos. Conclusively, there is a disturbing lack of progress in the last five years in ensuring that police officers use lethal force only when there is an imminent risk of death or serious injury to themselves or others.
"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.
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.
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.