In a country devastated by the deaths and injuries of hundreds of people, many of them unarmed, at the hands of police officers, drastic changes are needed in our approach to public safety. This excessive force by police is particularly disturbing given its disproportionate impact on people of color.
The underlying problem with policing isn't just the lack of de-escalation training or accountability procedures. The problem is the outsized and ever-expanding scale of policing that leads inevitably to officers’ unlawful use of excessive force and the killing of Black men and women. Racism is institutional and it infected our police and criminal legal systems at their origins centuries ago, bound in America’s history of slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination.
Dismantling this system of oppression will take all of us.
The ACLU of Indiana relies on various strategies to challenge a broad range of unjust police practices. We work in the legislature and with communities to reduce the size and scope of police departments and reinvest the money saved into community-based services that are better suited to respond to actual community needs. We work with law enforcement to develop reforms at the departmental level, using data on deployment, stop, search, and arrest disparities to press for change. And we pursue litigation against departments enforcing unconstitutional and counterproductive policies and tactics that harm the communities the police are responsible for protecting.
Our vision: a public safety system that treats all communities with dignity, employs restraint on police power, and uses only the degree of force necessary to maintain the community’s safety.