The Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (IIP) convened a year-long examination of police use-of-force. Comprised of 50 experts from across the country – individuals who have lost loved ones to police violence; prosecutors; police chiefs; policy experts; academics; and advocates – the Working Group on Officer-Involved Fatalities and Critical Incidents (Working Group) convened around the shared goals of preventing useof-force, and providing a path to accountability for unjustified force.
The Working Group brought together stakeholders from all sides of this issue. The diversity of the working group allowed for an honest reckoning of the factors that contribute to use-of-force and to limited accountability, and a careful examination of previously neglected nuances that can help to reduce and address these tragedies. Since its first convening, held in February 2018, the Working Group has provided a platform for directly impacted family members, prosecutors, and police chiefs to share their stories, learn from each other's experiences, and work together to build a more just system.
Working Group members collaborated over the past year to identify action for prosecutors to take and communities to advocate for in order to reach these shared goals. Their collaboration culminated in a Toolkit for Prosecutors and Communities, by Prosecutors and Communities (the Toolkit). The Toolkit draws on the insight of Working Group members as well as existing data and research in order to provide actionable and adaptable steps for prosecutors and communities to prevent and address officer-involved fatalities and other critical incidents in their local jurisdictions.
While there is no shortage of research or reports about officer-involved critical incidents, there has yet to be a guidebook that offers tangible steps for prosecutors and communities to take. This Toolkit addresses this gap.