2015 March 4

President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Releases Interim Report


The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released its Interim Report on this day. President Barack Obama created the Task Force in late December 2014 in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown, and unarmed African-American, but a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, and the protests and civil disorders that followed (August 9, 2014). In months following the Ferguson shooting, other incidents of police violence against African-Americans occurred, creating a national crisis in police-community relations.

After extensive public hearings across the country, the President’s Task Force report recommended major police reforms, including greater openness and transparency on the part of police departments, involving community groups in the drafting or revision of police policies (for example, on officer use of force), training in the de-escalation of encounters between police officers and community residents, and the adoption of procedural justice, an approach that emphasizes treating people with respect.

The Final Report of the President’s Task Force was released in April 2015.

The U.S. has had a long history of police violence and urban racial violence. Most of the riots of the 1960s were sparked by a police action, in some cases a shooting but in others nothing more than a traffic stop. See the 1968 Kerner Commission report on the 1960s riots: February 29, 1968.

Read the Task Force report: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf

Don’t miss: Wesley Lowery, “They Can’t Kill Us All:” Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement (2016)

Learn more about police accountability:  Samuel Walker and Carol Archbold, The New World of Police Accountability, 2nd ed. (2014)

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