"In professions where adults are in regular contact with children–such as health care, education, and day care—the state is heavily involved in setting and enforcing clear standards. Law enforcement officers are the gatekeepers for the justice system. They determine who is arrested, who is not, and who enters into the juvenile justice system and these decisions can dramatically and permanently alter a youth’s educational and professional opportunities. Given the magnitude and long-term impact of encounters between youth and law enforcement, there is no reason why law enforcement agencies and officers are not subject to the same levels of accountability, training and guidance."
Civic Engagement: News and Publications
"Today, our country is engaged in a critically important conversation about community-police relations. This report describes one of the United States Department of Justice’s central tools for accomplishing police reform, restoring police-community trust, and strengthening officer and public safety – the Civil Rights Division’s enforcement of the civil prohibition on a “pattern or practice” of policing that violates the Constitution or other federal laws (the Department’s other tools are described later in this document). Pattern-or-practice cases begin with investigations of allegations of systemic police misconduct and, when the allegations are substantiated, end with comprehensive agreements designed to support constitutional and effective policing and restore trust between police and communities. The Division has opened 11 new pattern-or-practice investigations and negotiated 19 new reform agreements since 2012 alone, often with the substantial assistance of the local United States Attorney’s Offices.
The purpose of this report to make the Division’s police reform work more accessible and transparent. The usual course of a pattern-or-practice case, with examples and explanations for why the Division approaches this work the way it does, is set forth in this report."
"Police have great power. Civilian recording of police officers serves the public’s vital interest in ensuring that police exercise this power lawfully. Video taken by civilians using cameras and cellphones has on many occasions exposed police misconduct that would otherwise remain hidden. Many recordings, such as the famous Rodney King sequence, have begun with relatively innocent, unremarkable conduct before quickly becoming violent. Video has spurred action at all levels of government to address police misconduct and to protect civil rights. Civilian recording serves important purposes not met by police dashboard and body cameras."
Brief of National Police Accountability Project in Support of Petitioners Richard Fields and Amanda Geraci. Authored by David Milton, Law Offices of Howard Friedman, PC with Patrick G. Geckle and John Burton.
Public conversations about urban police practices tend to exclude the perspectives and experiences of the young Black people, the citizens often most affected by those practices. The aim of the Youth/Police Project -- a collaboration of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School and the Invisible Institute -- is to access that critical knowledge and ensure that it is represented in the public discourse. This paper describes what we have learned from our ongoing project. In contrast to the attention commanded by high profile incidents of police abuse, we focus on the routine encounters between police and Black youth that take place countless times every day in cities across the nation -- interactions that shape how kids see police and how police see them. address these issues. Central to our recommendations is acknowledging the realities of young people living in marginalized communities. Drawing on our work with youth, we propose a set of policies that, taken together, have the potential to yield more equitable and constructive relationships between Black communities and police.
On November 10, 2015, the University of Chicago Law School's Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic announced a new interactive online database providing the general public with access to tens of thousands of Chicago police misconduct complaints.
This article argues that the practice of copwatching illustrates
both the promise of adversarialism as a form of civic engagement and
the potential of traditionally powerless populations to contribute to
constitutional norms governing police conduct.