The protests and conversations of the past couple months have laid bare a fact that Black and Brown Americans have known for decades: America has a policing problem. And that problem is firmly and undeniably rooted in racism,
The evidence is clear. Black people are more likely to be pulled over by police than any other racial group. During the “Stop and Frisk” program in New York, Black and Latino men aged 14-24 made up 38% of police stops, despite only making up 5% of the city’s population.
There is no single policy that can be passed to fix the deep-rooted discrimination in the criminal justice system.
Many municipalities have also adopted a policy known as “Broken Windows Policing.” This approach cracks down on low-level offenses like vandalism and public transit fair evasion, in the hopes that this will stop other crime. But this strategy is proven to be ineffective at preventing crime. The main thing it does is subject Black and Brown communities to constant police harassment.
This over-policing too often leads to police violence. Police are twice as likely to threaten violence against Black and Hispanic residents than they are white residents. The risk of being killed by police as a black person is staggering: Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. Black women are 1.4 times more likely to be killed by police than white women.
There is no single policy that can be passed to fix the deep-rooted discrimination in the criminal justice system. But with a combination of new policies and the active commitment of caring people, progress can be made.
The Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120/S. 3912) is currently before the House and Senate. This bill contains several necessary policing reforms to address the racist underpinnings of the modern American policing system. The act also contains the language of the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (S. 2355), which bans federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies from using race or religion to influence police stops, searches, and immigration proceedings.
Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the Justice in Policing Act. We must work at all levels of government and our society to repair the damage caused by centuries of racist policing.