Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) released demands for policing reform to federal elected officials, governors, mayors, and police chiefs. The recent killings of Black Americans, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, by former and current police officers have further exposed the need for immediate police accountability and reforms. We ask every resident of the United States to join us in demanding that elected officials and policymakers, introduce and enact the following policies at the federal, state, and local levels which will advance police accountability and reform:
- Adopt a federal standard that requires the use of force to be used only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options and incentivize states through federal funding mechanisms to implement this standard.
- Prohibit all police neck hold maneuvers, including chokeholds and carotid control holds.
- Prohibit racial profiling and require robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities.
- Eliminate federal programs that provide military equipment to law enforcement.
- Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.
- Change the statutory state of mind required to violate the federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 242, from willful to reckless, permitting prosecutors to successfully hold law enforcement accountable for the deprivation of civil rights and civil liberties.
- Develop a national public database that would compile the names of officers who have been fired or had their licenses revoked due to misconduct.
- End qualified immunity, a defense that shields officials from being sued and has been interpreted by courts so broadly that it allows officers to engage in unconstitutional acts with impunity.
- Repeal or amend state and local laws that shield police misconduct disciplinary records from the public.
- Negotiate police union contracts provisions that ensure police officers are held accountable for misconduct promptly and appropriately.
- Reduce the budgets of police departments and redirect the funding to underfunded agencies, such as education, healthcare, and youth services.
- Remove police from schools and promote positive school climates through student support services.
For more information about these demands, please read a national coalition letter to U.S. Congressional leaders here and LDF’s President and Director-Counsel, Sherrilyn Ifill’s, recent op-ed here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. 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. 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 NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.