The killings last year of Eric Garner and Michael Brown sparked a national conversation about police violence and systemic racism in the criminal justice system. On Long Island, the killing of Kenny Lazo, the beating of Kyle Howell, and a variety of other cases have demonstrated that reform is needed here, as well. After a massive grassroots demonstration in Amityville last December, LICET has been proud to join the steering committee of Long Island United for Police Reform (LIPR), a coalition of local civil rights and grassroots organizations working to support victims of police violence and pursue systemic change across the Island.
Today, LICET is releasing two fact sheets we've produced for LIPR. The reports analyze the opportunities for reform in two key areas of policing on Long Island: collection of data on stops and summonses, and the regulation of body camera programs. As both Nassau and Suffolk Counties pursue police body camera programs – programs which may foster accountability, but also represent another form of community surveillance – and as advocates and community members struggle to tell a story about biased policing without publicly-available data to draw on, both of these issues must be priorities for local leaders.
Both reports draw on the work of the Center for Popular Democracy and PolicyLink in their Building Momentum from the Ground Up.