National Police Accountability Project
National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) is a 501(c)(3) organization and a project of the National Lawyers Guild, which was founded in 1937 as the first racially integrated national bar association. In 1999, NPAP was created as a non-profit to protect the human and civil rights of individuals in their encounters with law enforcement and detention facility personnel. The central mission of NPAP is to promote the accountability of law enforcement officers and their employers for violations of the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
With over 500 members and growing, we continue to effect change in the flawed legal system and fight to put an end to police brutality of all forms. NPAP does not provide legal representation to victims of law enforcement misconduct. If you are looking for an attorney, please visit our Attorney Referral Listing and feel free to contact us if you require additional referrals. If you are interested in learning more about ways to hold law enforcement accountable, please review the NPAP Manual.
Jane manages NPAP’s membership and administrative needs and assists with various other projects. She previously worked for Court Watch NOLA, providing legal observations and broader organizational support. She graduated from Stanford University in June, where she was a pre-medical student and studied Comparative Literature. She is passionate about the possibility for radical transformation in the current carceral landscape in the United States, and is excited to be contributing to NPAP’s work in this effort.
Michael Avery is a Professor at Suffolk University Law School. A graduate of Yale College (1966) and Yale Law School (1970), he was engaged in active practice as a trial lawyer for twenty-eight years specializing in police misconduct litigation. Professor Avery has argued police cases in the United States Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, and Fourth Circuits and has tried dozens of such cases in the federal and state trial courts. He is considered one of the country’s leading civil rights lawyers.
Julia Yoo is a civil rights attorney in San Diego, California. She represents a broad spectrum of people whose civil rights and liberties have been violated. The types of cases Ms. Yoo focuses on include retaliatory arrests, First Amendment protests, excessive force, wrongful death, unlawful detention, sexual harassment and prisoners’ rights. Ms. Yoo has successfully tried and resolved cases throughout California and Colorado. She is an AV rated attorney and the named partner in Iredale and Yoo. She is an adjunct professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
Ben Elson is a partner at The People’s Law Office, a law partnership established in 1969 after the murders of Black Panther activists Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Throughout its forty-five year history, the office has confronted police brutality, torture, and prosecutorial misconduct; represented political activists; advocated for prisoners; fought against the death penalty; and provided legal support to Puerto Rican and other political prisoners. Elson’s practice focuses on representing victims of police and other governmental misconduct in civil rights cases, including people who have been wrongfully convicted, subjected to police brutality, and denied medical attention.
Howard Friedman has a private practice in Boston, Massachusetts. His practice emphasizes plaintiff’s civil rights litigation, particularly claims alleging police misconduct, police brutality, false arrest, wrongful conviction, inhumane treatment of prisoners, and the right to record police officers. Mr. Friedman is a frequent lecturer on police misconduct and civil rights issues. He is the author or co-author of numerous articles on these issues including a chapter on intentional torts for “ATLA’s Litigating Tort Cases,” published by Thomson West. He has also represented plaintiffs in several class actions alleging unconstitutional strip searches at jails or police stations.
Samuel Paz is a native of Los Angeles. In 1971, Paz graduated with honors from UCLA. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California Law School in 1974. Since then, he has practiced law specializing in litigation of civil rights claims, earning numerous victories in cases involving injuries or death caused by police misconduct. In the 36 years he has been a lawyer, Mr. Paz has a recipient of approximately 30 honors for his legal work. Those honors include ACLU’s highest award, the 2003 Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate award; the University of Southern California Law School’s 2002 Inspirational Alumnus award presented by La Raza Law Students.
Anna Benvenutti Hoffmann is a partner at Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, a small law firm in New York focusing on wrongful conviction, police brutality, and other serious civil rights suits. Anna’s work at all stages of litigation—from filing of a complaint to trial and appeal—has helped secure more than a dozen significant verdicts and settlements around the country, including the largest wrongful conviction jury verdict ever awarded.
Michael Haddad is an AV-Preeminent rated attorney and a partner in Haddad & Sherwin, in Oakland, California. The majority of Mr. Haddad’s practice is to represent plaintiffs in police misconduct and other civil rights litigation, including wrongful death, police shootings, excessive force, jail deaths, and municipal liability. Where possible, Mr. Haddad and his firm also obtain voluntary or court-ordered injunctive relief to improve police department policies and procedures.
Carol Sobel is a solo practitioner in Santa Monica, California. Prior to going into private practice, she spent 20 years working in various positions for the ACLU, including as Senior Staff Attorney for the last seven years she was there. She has been involved in numerous significant cases in federal and state courts. Carol serves as local counsel for the Center for Constitutional Rights in Humanitarian Law Project v. Ashcroft and served on the Rampart Blue Ribbon Panel. Since 2002, she was named as one of Los Angeles’ Super Lawyers for Civil Rights. Attorney Carol Sobel is a graduate of the Peoples College of Law.
John L. Burris is best known for his work in the area of Plaintiff’s Civil Rights. For over 30 years the Law Offices of John L. Burris has represented plaintiffs in high-profile civil rights cases including Rodney King, rapper Tupac Shakur, and Oscar Grant who was killed by a BART police officer (The award-winning film “Fruitvale Station” is based on Oscar Grant). He is a founding Board member of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) and a Board member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights-San Francisco.
Paul Wright is the editor and co-founder of Prison Legal News, the longest publishing independent prisoner rights magazine in US history. He is also the former National Lawyers Guild Jailhouse Lawyer national co-vice president (1995-2008). Paul was imprisoned for 17 years in Washington State until his release from prison in 2003. During and since his incarceration, he has successfully litigated a wide variety of censorship and public records issues against prison systems around the country both pro se, as a plaintiff, on behalf of other prisoners and on behalf of Prison Legal News.
Jon Feinberg focuses his practice on civil rights litigation and criminal defense. He is an experienced trial lawyer and appellate litigator, having successfully tried cases and argued appeals in both state and federal court. He specializes in cases involving wrongful convictions and prosecutions of innocent persons, the excessive use of force by police and correctional officers, the unconstitutional denial of medical care to prisoners, and the unlawful incarceration of persons in immigration custody. Mr. Feinberg regularly consults for and co-counsels with local public interest organizations, including the ACLU.
Paul Hughes is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice in Washington DC. He briefs and argues complex appeals, and he develops legal strategy for trial litigation. Paul is also a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at the Yale Law School, where he co-directs Yale’s Supreme Court Advocacy Clinic. Paul has argued more than 20 cases, and he has handled over 200 appellate matters, including 16 merits cases at the US Supreme Court.
Cynthia Anderson Barker began her work as an organizer, first in El Salvador as a staff member with the Lutheran Social Services and later in Los Angeles through Proyecto Pastoral, a project she helped found. It was through her organizing work that she became interested in utilizing the law toward progressive social aims and ultimately enrolled in Loyola Law School. While at Loyola she headed the school’s National Lawyers Guild chapter and, after graduation, remained a member of the guild and started work as an associate at the Working Peoples Law Center in Echo Park. Since then Cynthia has started her own law practice and specializes in lawsuits aimed at ending police misconduct and challenging inhumane conditions in prisons and jails.
She has successfully litigated cases challenging law enforcement for targeting immigrant drivers and impounding their vehicles for 30 days. Most recently she has engaged in public policy advocacy, as well as criminal defense and litigation on behalf of Los Angeles street vendors whose due process rights were violated when their property was confiscated and destroyed by law enforcement.
Stanley O. King is a partner at the Law Firm of King & King, LLC. He is engaged in general practice, with an emphasis on civil rights litigation and federal criminal defense. As a civil rights lawyer, Mr. King specializes in police misconduct. He has litigated numerous complex cases, both criminal and civil. He has represented families in nearly ten cases involving in-custody deaths and has obtained several multi-million dollar settlements. He was one of the lead attorneys in the “Camden Police Cases,” an 88-plaintiff consolidated civil case against Camden Police Department and five of its officers who were indicted for falsely arresting and planting drugs on members of the Camden community. Mr. King is also actively involved in the New Jersey District Court’s re-entry program, assisting newly released former inmates in their readjustments into society.
Mr. King serves as a board member of the National Police Accountability Project, a division of the National Lawyer’s Guild. He was appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to serve on New Jersey’s District IV Ethics Committee. He was also appointed to and serves on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the District Court of New Jersey. He served as Regional Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice. He also served on the Advisory Board of the Philadelphia Youth Entrepreneurial Institute. He has been a board member of the Philadelphia Sports Congress and served on the City of Philadelphia’s Football & Baseball Stadium Site Selection Committee. Mr. King has been a featured speaker at Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania and Rowan University. In 2019, he received the Judge John F. Gerry Award from the Camden County Bar Association for his contribution to the profession and the State of New Jersey. In 2018, he received the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Champion of Social Justice and Equality Award, presented by Rutgers Law School’s Black Law Student Association. In 2014, Mr. King received the Gloucester County NAACP Game Changer Award for his work in civil rights. In 2013, he was recognized as a “Top Attorney” by SJ Magazine.
Mr. King received his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, New Jersey. He also received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Political Science from Oglethorpe University. He is admitted to the bars of the State of New Jersey, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
David A. Robinson was born on November 5, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan. David worked for the Detroit Police Department both as an officer and an attorney. David served the Detroit Police Department for 13 years, as legal advisor to the department. He also defended officers in civil litigation. As part of his responsibilities, he was required to teach the legal section to recruits in the Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy. During these same years, David obtained a part-time teaching position at Wayne State University Criminal Justice Department.
David has litigated in the area of police misconduct for both defense and plaintiffs. He has taken, to settlement or verdict, hundreds of police misconduct matters involving the gamut of wrongful arrests to wrongful deaths at the hands of police officers. He has litigated cases in federal court and circuit courts in the tri-county areas. David associated with Johnny Cochran, Barry Scheck, and Peter Neufeld (of O.J. Simpson fame), in the wrongful conviction case of Eddie Joe Lloyd, which resulted in a settlement of $4,000,000. This case also resulted in an agreement whereby the City of Detroit conceded that all interrogations and interviews of suspects in serious offenses will be recorded, including police chase cases, accident cases and other police shooting cases not
resulting in death.
In addition, David has litigated cases involving the death of pre-trial detainees in Detroit jails which resulted in six and seven figure settlements. The Detroit Jailhouse litigation was instrumental in the closure of the 8th and 9th floors of the DPD lockups. David has also represented citizens who were wrongfully held as witnesses by DPD homicide. Theses cases were brought under federal civil rights statutes and demonstrated the abject failure of the DPD homicide section to honor the Constitutional rights of Detroit citizens. These cases have resulted in settlements, the most egregious among them was one that involved the wrongful arrest and detention of more than 40 citizens in the investigation of a single homicide.
Raised in Lakeview, Long Island, Fred Brewington is a respected lawyer and community advocate with a distinguished legal career. After working at a number of prestigious firms and law offices, including a clerkship at the Office of the Legal Counsel of the United States Senate, Fred Brewington began a private practice on Long Island. With his expertise in civil rights litigation, Fred has successfully challenged the ‘at large’ voting system in the Town of Hempstead and worked on preventing future unconstitutional and discriminatory purging of voters from the voting role.
Joanna Schwartz is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School. She is Assistant Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law. Before joining the faculty at UCLA, Schwartz clerked for Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York and Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was then associated with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, in New York City, where she specialized in police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, and First Amendment litigation. Schwartz’s research focuses on the role of lawsuits in organizational decision making, with a focus on law enforcement agencies.
Karen Blum is a Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School where she teaches in the areas of Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, Civil Rights, and Police Misconduct Litigation. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from Wells College, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and an LL.M. from Harvard. Professor Blum has been a regular faculty participant in § 1983 Civil Rights Programs and Institutes around the country. Professor Blum has authored numerous articles in the § 1983 area and is a co-author, along with Michael Avery and David Rudovsky, of Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation.
Alphonse A. Gerhardstein is a partner in the Cincinnati law firm of Gerhardstein & Branch Co., LPA. Mr. Gerhardstein has been an attorney for over 40 years and focuses his practice on civil rights including police misconduct, race, sex, sexual orientation and disability discrimination in housing and employment, prisoner rights, voting rights and reproductive health issues. He was lead counsel in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the United States Supreme Court established marriage equality for same sex couples in all 50 states. The journey to that landmark decision is chronicled in the book, “Love Wins” (Harper Collins, 2016).
Gerhardstein has also served as lead counsel on numerous civil rights class actions including one that reformed Ohio’s juvenile prisons and another that resulted in Cincinnati’s Collaborative Agreement which has been repeatedly cited as a national model for police reform. He is currently working with numerous clients through litigation and model policy advocacy to reform taser policies in law enforcement agencies across the region. He was co-counsel for the Sam DuBose family and secured a settlement of $5 million, an apology, a memorial on campus and participation in police reforms following the shooting of Sam DuBose by University of Cincinnati Police. Gerhardstein recently served as lead counsel in the resolution of a civil rights case against the Boone County KY Sheriff for the shooting death of Samantha Ramsey. Settlement included $3.5 million and a large number of department reforms.
Mr. Gerhardstein is the Founder of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center www.ohiojpc.org and a past Board Member of the Ohio Association for Justice. He is a frequent lecturer to professional and general audiences on civil rights topics, including appearances on CBS, NBC, and NPR news programs. Mr. Gerhardstein earned his B.A. degree from Beloit College and his J.D. degree from and was a Root Tilden Scholar at New York University. Mr. Gerhardstein and his partner Jennifer Branch litigate causes not just cases and they pursue reforms in all of their practice areas. See firm website at www.gbfirm.com
Jonathan is a partner in the law firm of Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP. His area of practice is civil rights with a focus on police and governmental misconduct, employment discrimination, First Amendment advocacy and international human rights. He has successfully litigated significant cases both on behalf of individuals and as class counsel in cases involving systemic misconduct in police departments in New York and throughout the country. He practices in both federal and state courts, at both the trial and appellate levels. Moore has served as an adjunct professor of law at CUNY School of Law in New York, teaching a course on government misconduct. He has also lectured on excessive force litigation for the Practising Law Institute. Since 1973, Moore has been a member of the National Lawyers Guild. He was a Founding Editor of the Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Report and has contributed articles to that publication as well as the Civil Rights Litigation and Attorneys Fees Annual Handbook. To learn more, see www.blhny.com.
James is the founder and director emeritus of the Texas Civil Rights Project. He also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School for 27 years. He has spent more than forty-two years as a lawyer in the civil rights field, handling landmark cases involving grand jury discrimination, police misconduct, privacy, voting rights, free speech and assembly, farm worker organizing, and the rights of persons with disabilities.
Harrington has received numerous awards and honors for his public service and assistance to the poor. Additionally, he served two years as Director of the Americans with Disabilities Act National Backup Center and helped to organize ADA litigation campaigns in more than twenty states and U.S. territories. In addition to authoring numerous law review articles and commentaries, Harrington wrote The Texas Bill of Rights: A Commentary and Litigation Manual. He received his law degree in 1973 and a Master's degree in philosophy in 1969, both from the University of Detroit. To learn more about the project, see www.texascivilrightsproject.org.
Ronald retired from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department after twenty-three years of service as Community Relations Officer. He is reputed for his outstanding work with the citizens of the Third District in Washington, D.C. in crime prevention and community participation and relations. His extensive experience and knowledge in community relations and policing has resulted in education and training opportunities for Mr. Hampton locally, nationally, and internationally.
Mr. Hampton is the immediate past Executive Director of the National Black Police Association, Inc. He was involved in designing and delivering community policing and problem solving training for residents in public housing as well as overseeing a project dealing with intervention and crime prevention through alternative community sentencing. Over the years, he has assisted the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service with community relations and crime prevention. He has also worked with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and has lectured at the American University's Washington Semester School Criminal Justice Program. In addition, along with other educators/trainers, he developed an anti-racism and organizational change program for Amnesty International USA.
With his reputation and expertise in community policing as well as human rights, Mr. Hampton serves as a consultant-educator to the Carter Center of Emory University, Human Rights Program. His work with the Carter Center has lead to working in countries like Ethiopia and Guyana. He has also provided consultation services for organizations in Britain, Canada and the Bahamas. In 1996, Mr. Hampton led a People to People, Citizens' Ambassador Program Law Enforcement Delegation of 23 to South Africa.
Mr. Hampton also volunteers for several organizations. He serves on the Federal Board of the Drug Policy Foundations' Law Enforcement Committee; he is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., and serves on the Advisory Committee, Capital Punishment Project; and he is a former Board Member of Amnesty International, USA.
Terry, of the firm Friedman & Gilbert, has been in private law practice since 1973, specializing in criminal defense and civil rights litigation. In the 1970's, he represented American Indians in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee confrontation in South Dakota, and numerous anti-war and civil rights activists. Over the years, Gilbert has handled a variety of government misconduct cases involving police abuse, violations of free speech, prisoners’ rights, and victims of all forms of discrimination.
David graduated from the American University Washington College of Law in 1970 where he was the first president of the law school's National Lawyers Guild (NLG) chapter. He worked for one year with the Lawyers Guild's Military Law Office in Japan and Okinawa. Upon return to the United States, he helped found the NLG Military Law Task Force. For the past twenty-five years, Gespass has maintained a general practice in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the past president of the National Lawyers Guild and has previously served as the NLG southern regional vice-president. He also served for four years on the editorial board of the Guild Practitioner, the Guild's theoretical journal, from 2004 to 2009 in the position of editor-in-chief. He has been a member of the NPAP Advisory Board since its founding in 1999.
Flint Taylor is a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School. He is a longtime National Lawyers Guild member and a founding partner of the People's Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, and government misconduct cases for thirty years. Among the landmark cases that Taylor has litigated are the Fred Hampton Black Panther case; the Greensboro, North Carolina case against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis; the Ford Heights Four case in which four innocent men received a record $36 million settlement for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment; and a series of cases arising from torture by Chicago police officials. Taylor successfully argued the cases of Cleavinger v. Saxner and Buckley v. Fitzsimmons before the United States Supreme Court. He is presently counsel for a seven year-old boy who was falsely accused of murder by the Chicago Police; death row inmate Aaron Patterson, who was convicted on the basis of a false confession which was tortured from him; and former death row inmate Ronald Jones. Taylor is also a founding editor of the Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Reporter. To learn more, see www.peopleslawoffice.com.
Barry Scheck is a Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City where he has served for more than twenty-six years. Currently, he sits as Emeritus Director of Clinical Education and co-director of the Trial Advocacy Programs and the Jacob Burns Center for the Study of Law and Ethics.
Scheck received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1971 and his Juris Doctorate from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley in 1974. He worked for three years as a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society in New York City before joining the faculty at Cardozo.
In 1992, Scheck and Peter Neufeld established the Innocence Project, a clinical program at Cardozo Law School. The Innocence Project has either represented or assisted in the representation of more than half of the men who were exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing and freed from lengthy prison sentences or the death penalty itself. To date, 143 individuals have been exonerated in the United States through post-conviction DNA testing since 1989.
Scheck is recognized for his representation of well known defendants such as Hedda Nussbaum, Louise Woodward and O.J. Simpson. Additionally, Scheck is known for representation of Abner Louima, Danny Reyes, Jarmaine Grant and Thomas Pizzuto in cases based on claims of racial profiling, wrongful death and wrongful conviction. To learn more, see www.nsbcivilrights.com.
David Rudovsky is a founding partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, & Feinberg LLP. He specializes in civil rights, civil liberties, and criminal defense litigation. Since 1987, he has been a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he teaches courses in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Civil Rights. Rudovsky has argued two civil liberties cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, Forsyth v. Mitchell (government wiretapping) and City of Canton v. Harris (municipal liability of failure to properly train police). He has written several books regarding criminal procedure and civil liberties: Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation; The Law of Arrest, Search and Seizure in Pennsylvania; Criminal Law in Pennsylvania; Law and Commentary; and The Rights of Prisoners. He has also published scholarly articles on government immunity, racial profiling, and the criminal justice system. In 1986, Rudovsky received a MacArthur Fellowship for work in criminal justice and civil liberties. To learn more, see www.krlawphila.com.
Héctor has a private practice in Worcester, Massachusetts focusing on tort and civil rights cases in State and Federal Courts. He is admitted to the United States Districts of Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and Vermont. Piñeiro litigates medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, pharmaceutical, transplant cases, toxic torts, product liability claims and claims against the gun industry. He also represents plaintiffs in civil rights litigation focusing on police and prison misconduct - in particular prisoner cases involving claims of deliberate medical indifference. Piñeiro was defense counsel in Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 426 Mass. 647 (1998) which, with companion case (Commonwealth v. Wanis, 426 Mass. 369) (1998), established a criminal defendant’s right to production of records of a police department’s internal affairs division that contained statements of percipient witnesses to events occurring at the time of the alleged crimes and the defendant’s arrest. He is a 1989 graduate of the U. Connecticut School of Law and Clark University.
Welcome to the new website for the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP)! We are celebrating our 20th year as a national organization of plaintiffs’ lawyers, law students, and legal workers united to seek accountability for law enforcement misconduct. We are a project of the National Lawyers Guild. We have over five hundred members across the country who are actively involved in litigation against police officers, corrections officers, and government agencies. We are proud of their work and will feature it in various sections of our website.
NPAP maintains a listserve on which our members exchange information on a daily basis. You can get copies of pleadings, discovery requests, deposition transcripts, expert letters and similar documents from experienced lawyers. You can post questions and requests: “Should I take this case?” “Is this proposal a reasonable settlement?” “What experts are available to testify about this problem?” “Please send me any recent cases on a certain topic.” This is a forum where you can discuss your successes and problems with others who share your interests. It is an incredible resource for anyone handling police or prison cases.
NPAP files amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court, lower federal courts, and state courts. We sponsor and promote legislation at various levels of government. We provide continuing legal education seminars, restricted to persons who represent plaintiffs, on a wide variety of topics throughout the year. We work together with other human rights and civil rights organizations.
I have been litigating, researching, and writing about law enforcement misconduct since 1970. I’m proud to have been one of the founders of NPAP, and believe it is a unique resource for civil rights lawyers and activists. If you are not a member, please join today. It’s one of the most important things you can do to build your civil rights practice.
– Michael Avery, President of the NPAP Board of Directors