Ending the Internal Affairs Farce
69 Pages Posted: 12 May 2016 Last revised: 27 Sep 2016
Date Written: May 11, 2016
Police misconduct has received a heightened degree of media attention in the last two years, but in reality the problem has been around for decades, and the people who consistently bear the brunt of that misconduct are people of color. This Article focuses on one reason behind the misconduct crisis (that police officers are rarely held accountable in any meaningful way for their misconduct against minorities) and one solution for that problem (reforming the way cities review and respond to civilian complaints about police misconduct). While some scholars have acknowledged the flaws inherent in existing review structures, this Article is the first to consider how the ineffective methods by which cities respond to civilian complaints of police misconduct exacerbate the misconduct crisis, and the first to propose a model for an effective independent review agency.
In this Article I begin by discussing the existent police misconduct crisis, and specifically the devastating effects police misconduct has had on minority communities. I then detail the failures of internal affairs review, and the flawed structures of many existing independent review agencies. I end the piece by proposing a model for an effective civilian oversight agency tasked with responding to police misconduct claims.
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