Police Policing Police

93 Pages Posted: 27 May 2022 Last revised: 7 May 2023

See all articles by Zachary D. Kaufman

Zachary D. Kaufman

University of Florida Levin College of Law; Boston University - School of Law; Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law; University of Houston Law Center; Stanford Law School; Yale University - Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: 2023


Police killings of George Floyd and at least 2,218 other Black Americans since 2015 amplified a racial reckoning and intensified demands for meaningful, overdue police reform. This Article is the first legal scholarship to argue that Congress and state legislatures across the United States should enact criminal laws creating a law enforcement officer duty to intervene in their colleagues’ misuse of force. These federal and state statutes should be bolstered by law enforcement agencies’ internal policies mandating the same obligation. Introducing criminal liability for inaction could prod officers to stop their peers’ serious misconduct and would promote accountability for those officers who remain bystanders. This Article presents a model statute for this officer duty to intervene and rebuts counterarguments, drawing on a case study of Derek Chauvin murdering Floyd for illustrations.

Keywords: criminal law, Bad Samaritan laws, duty to aid, duty to report, duty to rescue, duty to intervene, Officer Duty to Intervene, bystanders, upstanders, state law, federal law, police, policing, police killing, police violence, police brutality, police reform, George Floyd, Derek Chauvin

Suggested Citation

Kaufman, Zachary D., Police Policing Police (2023). George Washington Law Review, Vol. 91, No. 2, pages 353-445, 2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4119580 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4119580

Zachary D. Kaufman (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.ufl.edu/faculty/zachary-d-kaufman

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

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Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

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St. Louis, MO 63130
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HOME PAGE: http://law.wustl.edu/faculty-staff-directory/profile/zachary-d-kaufman/

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4104 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uh.edu/faculty/zacharykaufman/

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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