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Advocating for Justice: Case Studies in Combating Discriminatory Policing

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Click here to download the White Paper.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has long been active in the movement to address racial profiling, particularly in New York City. CCR has been combating systematic racial profiling by the New York City Police Department through both litigation and advocacy since the 1990s, and has worked with community groups, attorneys and activists both in New York and around the country on issues of police abuse and targeting of youth, people of color and other minority communities.

In the summer of 2011, CCR interviewed civil rights and police accountability lawyers, advocates, grassroots activists and academics across the United States to inquire about their work addressing police misconduct, abuse and racial profiling practices. The Center also conducted background research on successful models for police accountability, transparency and oversight throughout the country.

Based on this research, this report highlights strategies for combating racial profiling by police that have been employed by civil society groups in nine different cities across the United States. These strategies include (i) litigation, (ii) collaborations between law enforcement and the communities they police, (iii) legislative and administrative advocacy, (iv) soliciting the involvement of the U.S Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and (v) grassroots organizing and education. The experiences of the groups in these cities, both the successes and the failures, provide some important lessons for those doing anti-racial profiling work in the U.S.