Accelerating Police Reforms

Police Accountability, Racial Justice

Accelerating Police Reforms Amidst Continued Police Violence

As the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin – the officer who killed George Floyd – unfolds in Minnesota, we continue to see alarming incidents of police violence against people of color. 

On March 29, 2021, the same day that Chauvin’s trial began, an officer shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago’s Little Village, a neighborhood whose residents are predominantly of Mexican descent. 

Less than two weeks later, Duante Wright, a young Black man, was shot in the chest by an officer just miles away from the Minnesota courthouse where Chauvin now stands trial. 

In the same week, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, after footage was released of two Virginia police officers using pepper spray on Nazario during a routine traffic stop.

Many observers worry that police officers are only held accountable in ironclad cases of brutality that are heavily witnessed and filmed. This is dangerous. Violence and brutality that is not video-taped is just as pernicious. For example, in Boston, the mother of Terrence Coleman, a young Black man living with a mental health disability, witnessed his shooting at the hands of Boston police, but video footage was not available because the Boston Police Department did not have a comprehensive body camera requirement.

All these alarming incidents of police violence – and impunity – must be a catalyst for urgent police reforms. Officers need anti-bias, use of force, and de-escalation training. They also need to be held accountable through civilian oversight.

Lawyers for Civil Rights is fully committed to eradicating police violence through accountability and reform. We will continue to fight for people of color to receive safe, equitable, and dignified treatment in every aspect of their lives, including police interactions.