Reports

& Resources

The Austin Justice Coalition is an organization devoted to improving the lives of black people and all disenfranchised people in Austin, Texas. It is imperative to us that we try multiple forms of pressure in accomplishing the goal of achieving justice and equality for all. This page will be dedicated, mainly, to any statistical data that we, Austin Justice Coalition, will be collecting as well as potential policy language that we wish to produce in the future. We will also have articles and books that we feel help explain what institutional racism is and how to combat it with feasible goals.

 

Accountability through Police Contract Negotiations

A Policy Link Webinar with Chas Moore

 

Webinar Resources

Police contracts can create barriers to just and safe policing or provide guidance and structures that hold law enforcement accountable to communities. The contract negotiations process itself can provide a rare opening for community demands to be heard.

Community Voices Survey

Learn how police union contracts make it more difficult to hold police officers accountable for misconduct.

 

“In big cities, where police unions have political clout, rigid union contracts restricted the ability of police chiefs and civilian oversight bodies to tackle misconduct. As a result, an officer involved in a shooting often cannot be interviewed at the scene; internal affairs investigators have to wait days to get a statement.”

 

— Jonathan Smith, former senior litigator, DOJ Civil Rights Division

 

 

HOW POLICE UNION CONTRACTS BLOCK ACCOUNTABILITY

  1. Disqualifying misconduct complaints that are submitted too many days after an incident occurs or if an investigation takes too long to complete

  2. Preventing police officers from being interrogated immediately after being involved in an incident or otherwise restricting how, when, or where they can be interrogated

  3. Giving officers access to information that civilians do not get prior to being interrogated

  4. Requiring cities to pay costs related to police misconduct including by giving officers paid leave while under investigation, paying legal fees, and/or the cost of settlements

  5. Preventing information on past misconduct investigations from being recorded or retained in an officer's personnel file

  6. Limiting disciplinary consequences for officers or limiting the capacity of civilian oversight structures and/or the media to hold police accountable.

 

CONTRACT REVIEW

 

Campaign Zero activists and organizers examined contracts between police unions and some of America's largest cities to examine how they make it difficult to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

 
 
Campaign Zero reviewed the police union contracts of 81 of America's 100 largest cities* and police bill of rights in all 15 states with such legislation to identify the ways in which these policies make it more difficult to hold police accountable (Download Summary Report). Click image to view details for each policy.

In addition, many of the police union contracts reviewed contained provisions that:

  • Mandate paid leave for officers who kill

  • Prevent anonymous complaints from being investigated

  • Restrict the amount of time an officer can be interrogated for misconduct

  • Protect the identities of violent officers from public scrutiny

  • Require cities to pay for misconduct settlements

  • Prevent civilian oversight structures from being able to interrogate or subpoena officers.

 

 

PROBLEMATIC CONTRACT PROVISIONS

Examples of police union contract provisions that block accountability right here in Austin, Texas.

POLICE USE OF FORCE POLICIES CURRENTLY LACK BASIC PROTECTIONS AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE

These policies often fail to include common-sense limits on police use of force, including: 

  1. Failing to make life preservation the primary principle shaping police decisions about using force

  2. Failing to require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force

  3. Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead, resulting in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians

  4. Failing to require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor

  5. Failing to develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.

  6. Failing to require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.

  7. Failing to require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian.

  8. Failing to require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians

POLICY REVIEW

 

Campaign Zero reviewed the use of force policies of 91 of America's 100 largest city police departments* to determine whether they include meaningful protections against police violence. Click the boxes below to view details for each policy.

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