This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.
- 1 How You Can Resist
- 2 Recent Updates
- 3 Laws Proposed by Congress
- 4 Police Militarization
- 5 Protest Laws
- 6 Limiting Investigations of Police Departments
- 7 Gun Violence Prevention
- 8 Cooperation with ICE
- 9 School-to-Prison Pipeline
- 10 Policing and Racial Disparities: Data Sources and Summaries
- 11 Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
How You Can Resist
- Call your state representatives and ask them to support Campaign Zero's Policy Agenda to End Police Violence.
- Call your Senator by dialing tel:844-6-RESIST and tell them to protect communities against police violence and surveillance.
- Find out when your Senators and US Representative are holding town halls and other Upcoming Events/Opportunities. Show up and tell them to protect communities against police violence and surveillance.
- Download the ACLU Mobile Justice app to record interactions with the police that are immediately sent to the ACLU.
- Get trained as a legal observer to document police activity. Click here to learn about training from the National Lawyers Guild. You do not need any legal experience.
- Click here to find an organization looking for volunteers.
- Stay current with the statistics on police's use of lethal force with the Fatal Force database from the Washington Post and Mapping Police Violence.
- 9/15/17 The Department of Justice announced changes to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance.  Instead of helping police departments to make meaningful reforms to reduce police violence and improve community trust, the program will now help police departments "fight violent crime."
- 9/7/17 The Department of Justice announced that applications for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) grants would receive priority if they agree to cooperate with federal law enforcement and immigration authorities in schools. This reverses previous policies for schools to be sanctuary settings, where undocumented people would be safe from arrest or deportation.
- 9/6/17 The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings for President Trump's nominee to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Eric Dreiband. Dreiband's nomination is opposed by numerous civil rights organizations due to his history of siding with corporations in employment discrimination cases.
- You can find a collection of studies and articles about policing from the Campaign Zero research page.
- You can follow a twitter feed of the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project here.
Laws Proposed by Congress
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
- Email Privacy Act (HR 387) helps protect our privacy by requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before they can access customer email communications or cloud-based storage. Previously, emails older than 180 days could be obtained with just a subpoena.
- Police Reporting Information, Data, and Evidence Act of 2017 (HR 2676) requires data collection about the use of force. It would make it mandatory for individual states to report to the Attorney General when a member of law enforcement uses force on a civilian.
- National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act of 2017 (HR 630) requires federal, state, and local law enforcement to collect data about when officers use deadly force and report such data to the Department of Justice.
- End Racial Profiling Act of 2017 (HR 1498) aims to end racial profiling by law enforcement.
- End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (S 411) aims to end racial and religious profiling by law enforcement.
- Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (HR 1556) helps protect civilians by limiting the ability of the Department of Defense to transfer military weapons to law enforcement. Currently, police are able to receive military weapons (see below, Police Militarization). This bill would prohibit certain transfers and would impose restrictions on other transfers.
- Protecting Lives Using Surplus Equipment Act (HR 426) reinstates the transfer of military weapons to police. This equipment includes tanks, weaponized drones, and grenade launchers.
- Thin Blue Line Act (HR 115) makes it easier to sentence people to death for killing or attempting to kill a law enforcement officer.
- The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38) would allow anyone permitted to carry a concealed firearm in their home state to do so within the borders of any other state that has concealed carry permits, even if the permit requirements are different. The bill also exempts these carriers from the federal ban prohibiting guns in schools.
- Lifesaving Gear for Police Act (HR 1087) would make it impossible for local communities to prevent the Department of Defense from transferring weapons to police.
See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.
In August of 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that reverses an Obama era order that prohibited police departments from receiving some types of military equipment. The restrictions were considered necessary after police responded to civilian protests with armored vehicles, snipers and riot gear. . Previously some of the military equipment that was sold or given to local law enforcement agencies included mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, assault rifles, and grenade launchers. Research suggests there is a likely link between militarized equipment in the hands of law enforecement and increasd use of force and violence by law enforecement .
Read more about the militarization of civilian police departments here.
Read more and take action with Campaign Zero's strategy to limit local police departments' buying military weaponry here.
Learn more about the bill H.R.1232 - Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act that was introduced in 2015.
Since the election, several bills were introduced that would discourage organizers from using their rights to free speech and public assembly. These rights are stated in the Declaration of Human Rights and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Trump Administration has voiced disdain for several protests, often calling them illegal or staged. Following this lead, some state lawmakers introduced harmful legislation at state levels. In 2017, 18 states introduced or voted on laws that make protesters face harsher consequences. However, many of the bills died or were changed to uphold the constitutional right to protest.
See an updated (as of 7/18/17) Protest Laws map here.
Go to OurStates.org to view the bills currently being considered in your state.
Limiting Investigations of Police Departments
Under President Obama, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made police reform a priority. The DOJ issued consent decrees (agreements with police departments that lay out reforms to address problems). Under President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has opposed these agreements. The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is the branch that investigates when police violate citizen’s rights. Because of this, they are a likely target for Sessions as he works to limit the DOJ’s involvement in police department Civil Rights suits. collecting data
A consent decree is an agreement to settle a dispute. For criminal issues a consent decree is made without admission of guilt. For civil cases a consent decree is made without any monetary obligation.
Consent decrees have been signed by many cities. They are agreements to work with the Justice Department’s civil rights division on police reform. They address unconstitutional police practices and reforms to correct them after extensive fact-finding and research by the Justice Department.
Out of court agreements are similar to decrees, but cities are responsible for reforms without federal oversight.
Police unions endorsed Trump, have supported the nomination of Sessions for Attorney General, and have lobbied congress in the past for pro-police policies. During the Obama administration, the Civil Rights Division began investigations and initiated consent decrees and agreements to reform policing. . On April 3, Attorney General Sessions issued a memo ordering the Justice Department to review all consent decrees to ensure pro-policing principles.
See the state pages for current decrees and agreements in your state.
Gun Violence Prevention
President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are both supporters of Project Exile. Project Exile is a collaboration between law enforcement and federal prosecutors to bring gun-crime cases to federal court in order to impose longer sentences. It has been criticized for its unfair impact on black communities. During his campaign, Trump suggested that it should be expanded.   Rather than target gun violence in white communities (largely consisting of domestic violence, mass shootings, and shootings by legal gun owners), Trump has proposed to address gun violence by focusing on "gang members" and "drug dealers" in “cities like Baltimore and Chicago.”  Project Exile and similar programs have disproportionately impacted black people. These policies put black defendants on trial in front of juries chosen from a federal jury pool, which is less likely to include black jurors. They result in longer sentences for those convicted, with these sentences served in federal prisons farther away from their families. 
Cooperation with ICE
Trump has threatened to cut federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with ICE agents as detailed in Executive Order 13768.  In April 2017, the administration announced that they would not be publishing a list of cities and counties that failed to comply with the ICE agents, as previously promised. This change is largely due to the confusion created by misleading information. ICE will suspend these efforts until they can refine their research methodologies.
292 constitutional law, immigration law, administrative law, and international law professors and scholars have concluded that this threat is unconstitutional.
Sanctuary cities have been found to experience significantly lower rates of all types of crime, including lower homicide rates, than comparable non-sanctuary counties.  It is unclear if the limits on federal funding will be enough to change state/local policy. This is especially true when considering the impact of helping federal immigration authorities identify and deport undocumented immigrants on state and local economies.
The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the "disturbing national trend" where children are pushed from schools "into the juvenile and criminal justice systems."  This trend has been shown to criminalize student behavior and result in harsh punishments, including prosecuting youth in the adult criminal justice system.
Policing in Schools
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), within the Department of Justice, was created after the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was passed. COPS oversees funds used to address crime and disorder in schools through a partnership between schools and law enforcement.
Police officers are assigned to schools, where they are often called school resource officers (SROs). SROs do not receive standardized training from state to state, but are often given the role of counselor, mentor, and educator. In 2013, SROs received nearly four times as much funding as school counselors. 
SROs can handcuff students, use physical force, suspend students, arrest them, and bring them into the criminal justice system. SROs are often guided by “zero-tolerance policies” that penalize students harshly for behavior that is not usually seen as criminal (or is only a minor offense), no matter the circumstances.
Read more about “status offenses” (children's behavior that can be deemed illegal) that results in youth landing in the justice system in this report from Vera Institute of Justice.
In 2014 the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice produced guidance for enforcing student discipline without discrimination based on race. They based their recommendations on the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC).
CRDC data showed that African-American students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as their white peers without disabilities to be expelled or suspended. Although African-Americans are only 15% of students, they are 35% of those suspended once, 44% of those suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled. Over 50% of students arrested or referred to law enforcement were Latin-American or African-American. In addition, African-American students are more likely to attend schools that are policed, and remain more likely to be arrested at school. Recently, ACLU research has found that putting police in schools results in criminalizing youth of color. More information can be found in the ACLU report "Bullies in Blue—The Origins and Consequences of School Policing."
Policing and Racial Disparities: Data Sources and Summaries
Police are not required to gather data about their use of deadly force or other parts of their work. This information is important because it can show how much bias affects policing. Data collection should be required for both police and prosecutors. Below is a list of data sources about policing. The list includes data that are 1) collected nationally or from multiple states and 2) include the race of the person who encountered the police.
Killed by Police
Mapping Police Violence. The data are collected from all available data sources (described below). Additional details are collected through searches of social media, obituaries, criminal records databases, police reports and other sources. The race of 91% of the victims is known. The data researchers state that the data is close to 100% of the total number of police killings that have occurred since 2013. More about the data.
- Data Summaries
- Key Findings
- Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed.
- 37% of unarmed people killed by police in 2015 were black. (Black people represent 13% of the population.)
- Unarmed black people were 5 times more likely to be killed than unarmed white people in 2015.
Fatal Force—The Washington Post. Journalists and researchers collected data from official and unofficial sources. More about the data. The race of 93% of the victims is known for 2016. The data can be downloaded.
- Data Summaries
- Key Findings
- Black people were more likely to be shot after routine traffic stops than any other group.
- Black people, 13% of U.S. population, were 25% of all people killed by police as of June 2017.
- Mental illness played a role in a quarter of incidents.
- In 2015, 55 of the police officers who killed someone had previously been involved in a deadly incident while on duty.
The Counted: People killed by police in the United States. The data are collected by journalists. More about the data.
- Data Summaries
- Key Findings
- Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police.
- Data Summaries
- Key findings
U.S. Police Police Shootings Database. A crowdsourced collection of incidents of police shootings that have been posted on Twitter. The majority of data records do not have race identified.
- Data Summaries
- Key Findings
Killed by Police.net. The data are compiled from news reports of people killed by police since May 1, 2013. No additional information about the data.
- Data Summaries
Arrest-related deaths—Bureau of Justice Statistics. The data are from an annual national census of people who died during arrest or while in custody. About the data. How to use the data.
- Data Summaries
- Tables of counts of deaths while in custody 2000-2007
- Tables of counts of law enforcement arrest-related deaths, 2003-2006
- Tables of counts of Arrest-Related Deaths 2003-2009.
- Key Findings
- The tables do not contain current data. The tables that include counts by race are titled "by selected characteristics."
Expanded Homicide Data—Federal Bureau of Investigation. The data are collected voluntarily from police reports, and many law enforcement agencies do not participate. The FBI’s annual number of “justifiable homicides” by police is voluntary, and police are not required to submit details of fatal incidents.
The Stanford Open Policing Project. The data include vehicle and pedestrian stops by police and are collected from police agencies. The data can be downloaded. Tutorials about the data are here. More about the data and a minute video about the data.
- Data Summaries:
- Findings overall and by state *
- A large-scale analysis of racial disparities in police stops across the United States
- Police Data Suggests Black and Hispanic Drivers Are Searched More Often Than Whites
- Are traffic stops prone to racial bias?
- Key Findings
- Black and Hispanic drivers are 20% more likely to be ticketed, searched, and arrested than white drivers (even after accounting for age, gender, and location).
- Black drivers are 20% more likely and Hispanic drivers are 30% more likely to be ticketed compared to white drivers when pulled over for speeding
- Black and Hispanic motorists are about twice as likely to be searched than white drivers.
National Justice Database—The Center for Policing Equity. The data come from tracking national statistics on police behavior, including stops and use of force. It is standardized with a sample of volunteering police departments. More about the Data, Data details and report on how to use the data, and Data Overview.
- Data Summaries
- Key Findings
- Blacks on average were arrested 2.5 times higher than the overall arrests.
- Blacks were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested compared to Whites.
- Racial disparities for violent arrests were found in 5 of 12 (42%) departments.
- Racial disparities with use of force by police was not explained by different rates of crime by race.
Other data and research on a variety of policing topics
A research study, Disproportionate Use of Lethal Force in Policing Is Associated With Regional Racial Biases of Residents, found a connection between implicit bias of white people and use of lethal force by police in thir communities. "When many more white people in a given community revealed in tests that they considered black people more threatening than whites, that community was more likely to have rates of lethal force against black people that were out of proportion to their numbers in the local population." 
Police Data Initiative—Police Foundation and Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The data come from law enforcement agencies, technologists, and researchers with an agenda to improve public safety. About the Data and Data FAQ. No data summaries are available.
Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
- Much of Trump's policing agenda can be enacted through executive/administrative action without needing Congress to pass new legislation. However, these impact of these actions will be limited by the fact that the vast majority of policing is governed at the state and local levels. Most police violence is committed by state and local law enforcement, as well. For example, 98% of people killed by police are killed by state and local law enforcement officers. Nearly 200 local law enforcement leaders have declared their opposition to Trump's "law and order" agenda, and many cities have declared themselves "Sanctuary Cities" and refused to cooperate on Trump's deportation agenda.
- While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that he won't intervene to hold police departments and individual officers accountable for civil rights violations, states can pass laws (see California) to authorize their state attorney general to conduct investigations and enforce these violations. Similarly, cities and states have the power to make necessary policy changes to restrict police use of force, oversight, and militarization in the absence of federal intervention.