Friday, January 8, 2021
The summer of 2020 has been marked by a series of high-profile police killings of citizens, highlighting excessive force as the most pernicious form of racial injustice in American policing. The persistence of the excessive use of force problem over decades raises serious questions regarding what we know about police accountability, and has led some to argue for defunding or even abolishing the police. However, the roadmap to effective police accountability is tangible and known. In this Article, we delineate eight guiding principles and eight strategies that have emerged as reoccurring themes in the pursuit of police accountability and transparency. The principles and strategies of effective police accountability have proven difficult to implement and maintain, and we discuss the primary barriers to positive change. Despite these obstacles, we conclude with a sense of optimism about the potential for real police reform in the immediate to near future.