Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The Killing of Tyre Nichols Must Serve As a Catalyst To Root Out Racial Injustice in Policing
Press Release

RELEASE: The Killing of Tyre Nichols Must Serve As a Catalyst To Root Out Racial Injustice in Policing

Washington, D.C. — After the horrific killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of former police officers in Memphis, the Center for American Progress, the Vera Institute of Justice, and Color of Change released a column focusing on urgent reforms to combat the dangers of driving while Black in America. The resurgence of divisive political discourse about the need for more police to fight rising crime has reinforced policing practices that surveil, harass, and harm Black people without actually improving public safety.

The column is released by three prominent national organizations committed to criminal justice and racial justice and demonstrates how racial profiling in traffic enforcement; the harms of specialized police units; and lack of accountability in policing becomes deadly for Black people and other communities of color far too often. Every person deserves to feel safe in their communities, and we can no longer tolerate a lack of commitment from policymakers to address persistent racial profiling and policing practices that criminalize and harm Black people as they go about their daily lives. These racial injustices  undermine both safety and justice.

The authors of the column suggest the following systemic measures to ensure accountability for acts of racial injustice in policing:

  • Congress must immediately pass comprehensive reform legislation such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has been put on the back burner for far too long.
  • The Biden administration must also build on the “Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety” to increase accountability and limit the harmful practice of pretextual traffic stops.
  • The Biden administration should change its grant-making to eliminate incentives for local law enforcement to perform pretextual traffic stops and should prioritize funding for civilian traffic enforcement programs.
  • The Biden administration should model what states and localities can do to build the right governmental infrastructure to house, manage, and coordinate the various programs and interventions that prevent crime and deliver safety.

“Tyre Nichols should still be alive. His killing and the loss of countless other Black and brown lives at the hands of police is unacceptable and most importantly, avoidable,” said Rachael Eisenberg, the senior director of Criminal Justice Reform at CAP. “Congress and the Biden administration must take immediate action to ensure that we are delivering systemic changes that go to the heart of the racial injustice of policing in this country.”

Read the column: “The Killing of Tyre Nichols Must Serve As A Catalyst to Root Out Racial Injustice in Policing” by Rachael Eisenberg, senior director of Criminal Justice Reform, Center for American Progress; Brandon Tucker, senior director of policy and government affairs, Color of Change; and Hadi Sedigh, director of federal policy, Vera Institute of Justice

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Madia Coleman at [email protected].

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