Policy Proposals from #BlackLivesMatter

Terrance Heath

With the launch of Campaign Zero, the #BlackLivesMatter movement raises its political game with detailed policy solutions to end police violence, and puts policy makers on notice by defining deliberate actions to implement these solutions.

A group of influential activists in the #BlackLivesMatter movement have launched Campaign Zero. The Campaign is built around a fundamental belief emblazoned on the front page of its website:

We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.

The problem defined by the Campaign is that more than 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America. Contrary to what Fox News says, the majority of victims — 60 percent — did not have a gun, or were “involved in activities that should not require police intervention,” such as harmless “quality of life” behaviors or mental health crises.

This year is already on track to be as bad as any other — or worse. Last month alone, police killed 125 people. There have only been nine days when the police have not killed someone.

The Campaign believes America can, and should, do better. Pointing to examples of police departments in England, Germany, Australia, Japan — and cities like Newark, New Jersey, and Richmond, California — the Campaign asserts that we can live in America where the police do not kill people.

The solution is a “comprehensive package of urgent policy solutions — informed by data, research and human rights principles,” that spell out how the Campaign intends to achieve its goals.


The proposals, each supported in extensive detail, integrate recommendations from community activists, research organizations, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The Campaign’s proposals actually go much further than the “baby steps” proposed by the President’s Task Force.

  • Where the Task Force suggested “help communities diversify law enforcement departments to reflect the demographics of the community,” the Campaign calls for “rigorous and sustained training on topics ranging from implicit bias and procedural justice, to de-escalation and minimizing use of force.
  • While the Task Force did not make a recommendation regarding body cameras, the Campaign calls for mandatory body cameras, and the establishment of policies regarding their use. The Campaign also urges that police be banned from taking cell phones or other recording devices without a person’s consent or a warrant, and that citizens have the right to sue police departments that take or destroy these devices.
  • Where the Task Force stopped short of recommending demilitarizing police forces, the Campaign goes even further than the president’s calls for ending the Pentagon’s 1033 program providing military weapons and equipment to local police departments. The campaign goes even further than the president’s recommendations, which prohibited some military equipment and regulated others, while leaving the 1033 program intact.

The policy proposals also serve as a way to evaluate presidential candidates as indicated by the Candidate Tracking Document, which indicates how the candidates have proposed to address the issue identified by the Campaign.

2016 Candidate Tracking Tools

Campaign Zero is yet another indication that #BlackLivesMatter is a movement to be reckoned with.

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