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Black Lives Matter

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Police brutality is a centuries-old problem in America, one that still kills more than one thousand Americans every year. Police violence is not distributed evenly — Black Americans are 3 times more likely to be killed by the police than white people.

Many police departments fail to establish common sense restrictions on use of force. 60% of victims of police brutality did not have a gun or were engaging in activity that even requires use of force.

This is a uniquely American problem — other countries show us that public safety does not require police brutality. Implementing effective policy changes can dramatically reduce — and hopefully end — police violence in America.

Lack of Accountability

There is no national system for reporting police misconduct, and state agencies are often reluctant to release any details about investigations into police wrongdoing. There is rarely legal accountability for police officers who use excessive force. In fact, since 2005, 110 law enforcement officers nationwide have been charged with murder or manslaughter in an on-duty shooting — despite that around around 1,000 people are fatally shot by police annually.

The Way Forward

The police should reflect and be responsive to the cultural, racial and gender diversity of the communities they are supposed to serve. Research shows police departments with more black officers are less likely to kill black people but that won’t fix all our issues.

We need to encourage better police community relations, require the use of body cameras, and stop the use of weapons of war that have no place in our communities.

We will require the Department of Justice to investigate all questionable or suspicious police-involved shootings, and we will support states and localities who help make those investigations and prosecutions more transparent, including through reforming the grand jury process.

We will work with police chiefs to invest in training for officers on issues such as de-escalation and the creation of national guidelines for the appropriate use of force.

We will work to end racial profiling that targets individuals solely on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin, which is un-American and counterproductive. We should report national data on policing strategies and provide greater transparency and accountability.