Annapolis, MD – Today, in response to recent police use of force incidents on college and university campuses involving black students and students with mental illness, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in partnership with the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), released “P.R.O.T.E.C.T. – A Guide for Law Enforcement Engagement with Students of Color”. The P.R.O.T.E.C.T. recommendations promote six strategies that campus police should follow to improve interactions with students of color and those with mental illness: Partner with the Community, Review use of force policies, Open reporting of data on use of force incidents and stops, Train on implicit bias and cultural diversity, Eliminate profiling, Coordinate crisis response, and Transparent communication with the public.
Recent #LivingWhileBlack incidents on college campuses demonstrate that implicit bias causes students of color and those with mental illness to face increased risk of engagements with campus police, often for non-threatening, otherwise mundane behavior:
- In May 2018, a four police officers responded to calls concerning a black graduate student who had fallen asleep in a common area while studying.
- In August 2018, a Smith College employee called campus police to report that a black student “seem[ed] to be out of place” while eating lunch in a common area while on a break from her on-campus job.
- In April 2018, a parent called police on two Native American boys participating in a campus tour because they appeared “just really odd” and were wearing clothes with “weird symbolism or wording on it.”
- In April 2018, Cambridge Police responded to a call concerning a naked, unarmed student in mental distress at Harvard University by tackling the student, pinning him to the ground, and repeatedly punching him.
These incidents and the P.R.O.T.E.C.T. recommendations will be discussed today at a panel co-hosted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Black Law Students Association at the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Region (MABLSA) Convention, entitled “P.R.O.T.E.C.T. – A discussion for Law Enforcement Engagement with Students of Color”.
“P.R.O.T.E.C.T. highlights the need for partnership with the community, accountability, and transparency in interactions with all students,” said Myesha Braden, Director of the Criminal Justice Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “These recommendations are an important tool for students, campus police, and university administrators seeking to promote positive interactions between students and officers during public safety activities. As we work to achieve safer policing of our communities nationally, we must recognize the very real imperative to extend our work to improve policing strategies on our college campuses to prevent instances of implicit bias and excessive use of force.”
The panel discussion will take place at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland located at 100 Westgate Circle on Thursday, February 7, 2019 from 3:00pm – 5:00pm. The event is not open to the public but those wishing to attend can register at www.mablsa.org/convention and individuals are encouraged to contribute to the conversation by following the hashtag #campusPROTECT. To view the complete P.R.O.T.E.C.T. recommendations, please refer to the link here.
Speaking on the panel today will be Chief Lance Hatcher of Morgan State University, Lieutenant Charles Ravenell of Anne Arundel Police Department, Chief Ernest Waiters of the Bowie State University Department of Public Safety, Gabrielle Gray, Policing Campaign Manager at The Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights and Jazzalyn Livingston, National Program Manager for the Youth & College Division of the NAACP.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Derrick Robinson, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8317