Dear Obama administration, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security:
I am writing to urge your leadership and intervention in addressing the nationwide crisis of police brutality. Every day, the lives, safety, and freedom of Black and brown youth and adults are threatened by discriminatory and violent policing tactics. In fact, as reported in the Guardian, law enforcement currently kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings.
The federal government has a clear role to play in overturning the conditions that led to these tragedies and setting a higher standard of policing across the country. The standards, policies, and practices of the executive branch set the tone and tactics of local and state law enforcement. The integrity of America and our criminal justice system must be restored.
I urge you to take definitive and immediate action, including but not limited to the following reforms:
- A fully-resourced and rigorous civil rights and criminal investigation by the DOJ into discriminatory policing, excessive force, and death or injury by police in every state in the country;
- A comprehensive, streamlined, public national-level database of police shootings; excessive force, misconduct complaints, traffic and pedestrian stops, and arrests, broken down by race and other demographic data, with key privacy protections, the exclusion of personally identifying factors and information, and deportation immunity for civilians;
- Mandating of Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) in every state and inter-state coordination between all POSTs;
- An executive order that creates a strong and enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory policing based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status;
- Increased funding for the DOJ's Office for Civil Rights to ensure additional, accessible state-level responders for police and other civil rights violations Divestment of federal anti-drug grants and federal funding for police departments that demonstrate abuse of power and massive reinvestment in community controlled and based policing practices;
- Support for the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA);
- Streamlined national use of force matrix and mandating that state and local police have clear and streamlined matrices; and
- Enforce new strict limits on asset seizure without due process and the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under the 1033 program, guidelines that ensure that the equipment is not used on non-violent protesters, and an end to the requirement that such military weaponry is used within a year.