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