Washington, D.C. — Today, in the wake of high tensions between communities of color and law enforcement, the Center for American Progress released a new issue brief exploring the intersection of race and policing, historically and in our current context. According to the report, in order to move forward and improve relations between communities and law enforcement, it is necessary to have an open and honest discussion about the role of law enforcement and the country’s criminal justice system.
In “The Intersection of Policing and Race“, CAP expert Danyelle Solomon puts forth the following five recommendations to help bridge the divide and build trust between communities of color and law enforcement:
- Institute a special prosecutor policy and create community police review boards
- Expand law enforcement training and community-centered responses
- Institute statewide use-of-force guidelines
- Mandate data collection
- Invest in officer and community wellness
People of color make up more than 60 percent of the prison population, yet they only represent 39.9 percent of the U.S. population. More specifically, African Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, yet comprise 40 percent of those incarcerated. Statistically, 1 in 3 African American males born in 2001 will go to prison at some point during their lifetime; for Latino males, the number is 1 in 6. African Americans are also 2.5 times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts. In their interactions with law enforcement officers, young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot by a law enforcement officer than their white counterparts.
“The acrimony between communities of color and law enforcement is nothing new,” said Solomon, Director of Progress 2050 at CAP. “Understanding our complicated history and its lingering vestiges by admitting that we have chosen to underinvest in schools, allowed poverty to persist in communities, and refused to fund drug treatment and mental health facilities, for example, is key to finding solutions to the very serious problems that continue to fester today.”
As discussed in the report, despite advances of technology, science, and social justice, the tense relationship between law enforcement and communities of color still persist: Consistent polling over the years reveal that 76 percent of African Americans believe there was “a problem with the justice system when it comes to law enforcement and race” compared to 33 percent of their white counterparts. Additionally, only 22 percent of African Americans have a great deal of confidence in law enforcement compared to 50 percent of their white counterparts.
For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya Arditi at email@example.com or 202-741-6258.