Policing

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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.

Recent Updates
Recent Updates

  • 2/22/2017: At least 18 states are considering legislation to criminalize or otherwise penalize protesters. Go to State and Local Pages to view the bills currently being considered in your state.

18 states are considering bills to suppress protests [1].

  • 2/20/2017: John Kelly, who is Secretary of Homeland Security, signed the following memos:
    • ”Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies” [2]
    • ”Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest”[3]

These memos provided further instruction and consideration for expansion of the 287(g) Program, which is part of the INA— this empowers state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The policy in question contributes to many of the existing concerns of state and local law enforcement using petty crime & broken windows policing in communities of color for grounds of incarceration or deportation.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Actions Taken by the Federal Government

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice

  • H.R. 387—the Email Privacy Act 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 a subpoena.[4]
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Harmful Legislation




See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.

Executive / Administrative Actions

  • 2/9/2017: Three new Executive Orders were signed by Trump, outlining the following actions:
    • The Executive Order Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking[5] appears to be designed with a focus on drug cartels.
    • The Executive Order on Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers[6] uses language that alludes to developing a strategy to prosecute those who commit crimes against the police and to seek to strengthen police protection laws and/or propose new legislation to do so.
    • The Executive Order on a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety[7] seeks to fund a task force that will primarily focus on drug crime and illegal immigration.
  • 2/3/2017: The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives is planning to send more agents to Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel states that he has not yet received formal confirmation of this action from the federal government.[8]
  • 2/1/2017: During a White House press briefing, Sean Spicer stated in response to a reporter's question that we could expect Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to end gun-free school and military zones, likely by Executive Order.[9]
  • 1/19/2017: Recent reporting states that as part of budget cuts, the Trump team plans to cut the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services and reduce funding for civil rights.[10]

Projected Impact
Projected Impact

  • Research suggests that the stop-and-frisk, racial profiling, and immigration enforcement policies Trump has proposed would reduce police-community trust,[11] increase incarceration,[12] contribute to police-involved shootings,[13] and increase the murder rate in black communities.[14] When implemented, these policies have a record of being disproportionately enforced in communities of color—particularly against young people of color.[15] This, in turn, can also result in an uptick in broken-windows policing, which can lead to increased deportation affecting undocumented citizens, and incarceration for petty crimes.[16]. They also disparately impact people with disabilities, given that one-third to one-half of people killed by the police have a disability.[17]

Trump / GOP Strategy
Trump / GOP Strategy

Trump's administration has proposed to:

  • allow local police departments to use racial profiling[18] and stop-and-frisk tactics[19] in "inner cities."
  • encourage local police departments and state law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.[20]
  • reinstate the transfer of military weapons to local police departments (including tanks, weaponized aircraft and grenade launchers).[21]
  • decline to continue the Obama administration's practice of investigating police officers and departments for civil rights violations.
  • partner with local and state law enforcement officers to arrest, detain, and deport 2 to 3 million people[22] suspected of immigration violations, potentially through reestablishing the 287(g)[23] and/or Secure Communities[24] programs.
  • increase surveillance of Muslim communities.[25]
  • provide federal funding to local and state police agencies with "no strings attached."[26]

It's unclear whether Trump will weaken or stop the new federal data collection initiative documenting police use of force.[27]

Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy

  • While much of Trump's policing agenda can be enacted through executive/administrative action without needing Congress to pass new legislation, these executive actions' impact 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.[mappingpoliceviolence.org] Nearly 200 local law enforcement leaders have declared their opposition to Trump's "law and order" agenda,[28] and many cities have declared themselves "Sanctuary Cities" and refused to cooperate on Trump's deportation agenda.
  • While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has suggested that he won't intervene to hold police departments and individual officers accountable for civil rights violations,[29] 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.

Past Updates
Past Updates

  • 1/20/2017: The Department of Justice requested, and was granted, a delay in the initial hearing for the consent decree for the Baltimore Police Department in order to provide additional time to brief the incoming administration.[30]
  • 1/24/2017: Trump posts a tweet threatening to "send in the Feds" if Chicago doesn't address "carnage."[31] This is in violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.[32]
  • 1/27/2017: A study by University of California San Diego Professor Tom Wong shows that sanctuary cities "experience significantly lower rates of all types of crime," contradicting the rhetoric of the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee Trump administration.[33]
  • 1/30/2017: Several police unions are looking to have consent decrees, agreed to under the Obama Administration overturned. There are currently 14 Police departments operating under these decrees. Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, is one of a few bending Trump's ear in support of moving against the consent decrees.[34]
  • 1/31/2017: The IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) "strongly opposes" using local and state law enforcement to enforce Trump's immigration mandate.[35] The organization has a history rich in community-based service and extensive researching on police initiatives.
  • 1/31/2017: A North Carolina highway patrol trooper will not face charges in an August 2016 shooting of a deaf man during a traffic stop that turned into a chase, resulting in the loss of Daniel Harris's life.[36]
  • 2/9/2017: New York City has 1.5 million low-level warrants on file, all of which involve an escalating number of tickets for minor infractions and are the result of an aggressive policing policy. The city’s district attorneys are considering purging (or throwing out) up to half of these warrants, in part out of concern that warrants will make people vulnerable to immigration enforcement.[37]