STONO INSTITUTE PRINCIPLES ON TRANSFORMATIVE POLICING IN THE 21st CENTURY
The United States of America is at a critical juncture. Systemic and structural racism, deadly police violence and violent white extremist vigilantism have created unprecedented levels of racial tension and public distrust in local, state and federal government, particularly with law enforcement agencies around the country. This watershed moment demands watershed change that every facet of society—individuals, civil society groups, corporations and governments—must confront to safeguard the human rights of Black Americans.
Systemic and structural racism is pervasive and embedded into every aspect of American society.
- National polling in 2016 indicated that at least 28% of Black youth and adults have been arrested after encounters with police, and 24% indicate that they have been personally harassed by law enforcement. A June 2020 poll by Monmouth University indicates that 87% of African-Americans believe that “individuals of their race are more likely than whites to experience excessive force,” and 90% of African-Americans believe that racial discrimination in the U.S. is a big problem.”
Deadly police violence, police brutality and other forms of misconduct against Black Americans compels robust non-violent direct action. All persons have a moral and ethical responsibility to robustly protest, demonstrate, rally, march and boycott to safeguard Black life, liberty and self-determination.
- African-American men between the ages of 18 and 34 comprise about 3.0% of the American population but nearly 45% of those killed by police. According to the Sentencing Project, black women are twice as likely to serve time in prison as white women.
Violent white extremist vigilantism against Black Americans has skyrocketed in the past three years and unfortunately necessitates lawful self-defense when one reasonably believes that using or threatening to use force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
- According to FBI hate crimes data, nearly 50% of all victims of hate crimes were Black. The Anti-Defamation League estimates that a total of 42 domestic extremism-related deaths in 17 separate incidents in 2019, and the SIFJS anticipates that over 2000 unprovoked anti-Black physical assaults and intimidation hate crimes against African-Americans occurred in the past 2 years.
- Declare racism a public health crisis.
- Conduct implicit bias screening for all new law enforcement applicants and recruits and incorporate racial bias components into stress test and psychological exams. Racist trainees must be eliminated from the conscription process and racist police officers fired.
- Establishment of mandatory training for new recruits and re-certification retraining for all law enforcement agencies and personnel that includes substantial instruction in de-escalation, race conscious, racial bias, discriminatory profiling, racial profiling, and procedural justice training subject matter (10 or more hours) that will satisfy mandatory retraining requirements.
- Adopt clear policy affirming the duty to intervene in circumstances where one can anticipate or observe the unreasonable, unnecessary and disproportionate use of force for which another law enforcement officer is engaged.
- Institute new systems to collect, analyze and retain statistical data and recorded data evidence on incidences of uses of force, traffic stops, complaints and the disposition of complaints disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender and age of persons. Make such information publicly accessible.
- Creation of de-escalation deputies/advocates program that embeds clergy and others trained in religion, mental health, social work, psychology or law with officers in Black communities during high activity periods.
- Withdraw militarized patrol units in predominantly Black communities and replace them with community orientated policing groups with civilian representation.
- End racial profiling/discriminatory profiling and monitor trends in self-initiated traffic stops.
- Police violent white extremists seeking to foment racial tension and violence.
- Innovate new technology to minimize human contact between police officers and Black Americans using state-of-the-art automation during traffic stops.
- End no-knock warrants and choke holds at the local, state and federal levels.
- End “qualified immunity” for police officers that use excessive force resulting in physical or psychological harm to persons.