USA Today: “This company’s permissive policies are behind high-profile police shootings of Black men in the US”
Lexipol is a For-Profit Company Recommending Weak Use Of Force Policies To Municipalities Around The Country
NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown’s grassroots networks, today called on law enforcement agencies and municipalities across the country to reject Lexipol guidance for use-of-force policies and replace it with specific use of force policies advocated for by policing experts. A recent USA Today report highlighted immense discrepancies between Lexipol guidance and best practices, such as mandating de-escalation, banning shooting at moving vehicles, and limiting officers’ discretion.
“The reckless policies espoused by Lexipol have contributed to the plague of police violence in the U.S., which disproportionately impacts Black people,” said Nick Suplina, managing director of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Law enforcement agencies and municipalities should replace Lexipol guidance with clear use-of-force policies which emphasize protecting life.”
“Policies like those Lexipol promotes lead to tragedy, prevent accountability, and put Black lives at risk,” said DeVitta Briscoe, a survivor of gun violence whose son Donald McCaney was shot and killed in 2010 and whose brother Che Taylor was shot and killed by police in 2016. “It’s those policies that foster the police violence epidemic which killed my brother and more than 1,000 people in the U.S. every year. No law enforcement agency should look to Lexipol as a source for evidence-based, research-backed use-of force policies.”
Per the report, Lexipol, the nation’s largest purveyor of law enforcement policies, “works with 8,100 public safety agencies and municipalities in at least 35 states.” Among the offices that use Lexipol policies are the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office, where deputies shot and killed Andrew Brown, Jr. in April. A prominent constitutional law attorney described Pasquotank County’s use-of-force policies: “It’s a weak policy, it’s a permissive policy; it doesn’t impose any types of restrictions on officers’ use of deadly force beyond the bare, constitutional minimum. As a result, it’s quite easy to justify the use of deadly force in circumstances that most practitioners, most police leaders, would tell you would not merit a use of deadly force.”
Everytown supports the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House of Representatives passed in June. The bill would take several necessary steps to address police brutality, racial profiling, and other fundamental problems in our law enforcement system.
Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns.