Civil and Human Rights Coalition Speaks Out on U.S. Failure to Address Misconduct by Law Enforcement Officers

WASHINGTON – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights submitted comments to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as they held a hearing to examine the issue of extrajudicial killings by law enforcement officers, and the U.S. government’s failure to protect its people from such actions.

“Since the advent of modern policing and for the past several decades, our laws have largely failed to ensure the justice that our Constitution professes to afford. Police brutality and discriminatory policing practices will continue to exist in the United States unless the federal government and Congress take stronger action to prevent them by implementing these recommendations. It is crucial that we continue to examine the challenges facing law enforcement in the 21st century, including an examination of the tension that has developed between law enforcement and communities of color, and advocate for transformative solutions that will promote lawful, fair, and effective police practices and accountability measures,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, in her submission.

The Leadership Conference notes that to effectively and comprehensively address these issues and the challenges facing law enforcement in the 21st century, we must transform the way that law enforcement officers interact with the community. This includes rebuilding police-community trust and ensuring accountability for any officers or departments that engage in civil and human rights violations. This can be accomplished by:

  • Training law enforcement officers on implicit bias, use of force, and de-escalation tactics;
  • Replacing “broken windows” policing with the community policing model;
  • Demilitarizing the police force and preventing the deployment of military weapons against communities of color;
  • Unequivocally and explicitly prohibiting racial profiling;
  • Developing uniform accreditation procedures and standards for police departments nationwide;
  • Increasing community oversight and federal oversight over local law enforcement through civilian review boards, criminal and civil rights investigations, and consent decrees; and
  • Requiring law enforcement departments to collect and report data – disaggregated by race – on incidents of police use of force and other police-civilian encounters.

The Leadership Conference’s full submission can be read here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit