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Police union contracts and statewide Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights laws have created a system of protections for police officers that amount to an alternate justice system, creating significant legal and structural barriers to accountability, transparency, and fairness. Of at least 4,024 people killed by police since 2013, only 85 of these cases have led to an officer being charged with a crime. Only 6 cases have led to convictions – fewer than 0.2% of known police killings. Data from some of America’s largest police departments show that officers who commit misconduct rarely face administrative consequences, either. It is not surprising that police officers are rarely, if ever, held responsible for their behavior, as the combination of provisions in police union contracts and Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights constitute de facto immunity from liability.
Recognizing that systemic change can only be achieved through comprehensive action, Campaign Zero proposes ten categories of policy solutions to end police violence in America. Among these, the policies that govern how and when officers are allowed to use force against civilians requires immediate attention and intervention. The police killed over 600 people in America in the first seven months of 2016, enabled and protected by laws and policies that allow police to use force, both deadly and otherwise, with little to no accountability.
Body cameras are rapidly becoming the norm in communities across the country. Campaign Zero reviewed available police department body camera policies from the largest 30 cities in America to determine whether this new technology is being implemented in ways that ensure accountability and fairness while protecting communities from surveillance.