Today, the Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg regarding federal solutions to reduce police violence in traffic encounters. LDF’s letter supports the demands of Memphis advocates to prevent additional police violence against Black people following the killing of Tyre Nichols by members of the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION unit. On February 7, 2023, Decarcerate Memphis, a coalition of community leaders, activists, attorneys, strategists, clergy and concerned residents, sent a letter urging the agencies to support a number of changes to certain police practices in their community. 

LDF’s letter calls on the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation to take these steps to respond to the killing of Tyre Nichols’ and to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future: 
1) End Federal Funding of Armed Patrol Officers for Routine Traffic Enforcement and Invest in Non-Police Measures for Traffic Safety. 
2) Eliminate Federal Funding that Supports or Facilitates Pretextual Stops. 
3) Prohibit the use of Federal Funds for Specialized Crime-Suppression Units. 

Read the full letter here. 


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.