ACLU Agrees with United Nations Report on Data Collection, Lack of Transformative Change within US Policing

By Leila Katibah

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – After the historic George Floyd resolution produced by the United Nations Human Rights Council last July, the U.N. Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement (EMLER) this week presented its first report discussing the importance of centralized data collection on eliminating systemic racism within policing.

For the first time, during their 51st regular session, the U.N. Human Rights Council heard from two representatives of system-impacted communities, in addition to the U.N. Anti-Racism Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The dialogue was centered on the EMLER report and a new report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights detailing the lack of progress in addressing global police violence, stressing the need for transformative change.

EMLER focuses on the lack of comprehensive data collection on policing in the U.S., and its most recent report provides a review of federal and state examples of this failure.

Against unchecked abusive police systems that lack transparency and possess seemingly endless power and resources, data collection systems serve as a necessary safeguard. EMLER also said it recognizes data collection is not the cure to police violence, but rather one part of the solution.

One of the community representatives, Colette Flanagan, founder and director of Mothers Against Police Brutality, professed to the council, that elevating human rights in policing requires addressing “the use of deadly force, the judicial doctrine of qualified immunity, and the treatment of families and communities suffering from racial profiling, police brutality, and extrajudicial killings.”

Flanagan’s son, Clinton Allen, was shot and killed by a Dallas police officer in 2013.

Director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, Jamil Dakwar, presented the council a video and written statement agreeing with the United Nations report.

Dakwar noted although it is not the ultimate solution to systemic racism, the importance of data collection lies in the understanding it provides about communities targeted and impacted by police brutality.

“The United States is home to more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies, and it is clear that current data collection requirements have failed,” stated Dakwar, noting it has placed the burden on victims, impacted communities, and media outlets to document police misconduct.

“The solution involves shifting resources to support life-affirming alternatives to policing, meaningful accountability, and rigorous monitoring and enforcement of data collection laws and policies, not more cops on the streets,” continued Dakwar in addressing what it takes to eliminate systemic racism in policing.

About The Author

Leila Katibah is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is double majoring in Sociology and Middle East Studies with a minor in Professional Writing. After graduating, Leila plans to attend law school to pursue a career in Public International Law.

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