The Prosecutor’s Role in Addressing Officer-Involved Fatalities
Given the persistence of and the lack of accountability for these tragedies, how can prosecutors prevent and address officer-involved fatalities?
The IIP's Toolkit on Officer-Involved Fatalities and Critical Incidents addresses this question with concrete action that prosecutors can take and communities can advocate for in order to reduce use-of-force, and to provide a path to accountability for unjustified force.
The Working Group
The Toolkit was created for prosecutors and communities, by prosecutors and communities. It was informed by a year-long Working Group comprised of 50 experts from across the country - those who lost loved ones to police violence; prosecutors; and law enforcement experts.
The Working Group provided a platform for directly impacted family members, prosecutors, and police chiefs to share their stories, learn from each other’s experiences, and work together to build a more just system. Some of these stories are uplifted in IIP’s Executive Session paper, Prosecutors and Officer-Involved Fatalities.
Working Group members collaborated over the course of a year to translate dialogue into action. Members have used the Toolkit’s recommendations in their offices and local DA races, and have presented the Toolkit’s recommendations to a statewide working group in Minnesota and at a Congressional Black Caucus hearing.
The IIP launched the Toolkit in partnership with family members, prosecutors, and law enforcement experts in February 2019.
Victoria Davis, the sister of Delrawn Small and a member of the Justice Committee, outlines her goals for the Toolkit.
The human narratives underpinning the Toolkit were uplifted in an Executive Session paper, authored by Roy L. Austin, Jr., Valerie Bell, and John Choi, with a foreword from Chief of Police J. Scott Thomson and interviews by Allison Goldberg.
“Would You Trust the Police Officer Who Writes ‘It’s a Good Day for a Chokehold’?” ask Chiraag Bains and Kyle C. Barry in a July 2019 New York Times op-ed that cites the Toolkit as a resource for prosecutors and communities.
Interested in adopting the Toolkit? Write to us at IIP_JohnJay@prosecution.org
What does a family-prosecutor partnership look like? Watch Valerie Castile and John Choi discuss why they joined the working group, below, and read more about their partnership here.