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Use of Force Reform


As conversations and legislation around police reform continue across the nation and New York State, the topic of use of force comes up regularly.  Many feel that New York State needs stricter Use of Force laws. Find a several links to reports, policy and testimony below.

Click the links below to view material related to New York State and National use of force reform.

New York State


New York State

Adopting Reform Bills to NY State (Laws)

The Center for Law and Justice research (Pathways to Reformative Change (2019)) recommends NY state to enact a use of force bill similar to bill AB 392 which was passed by California in 2019. Read the California bill.


California is currently considering passing a bill designed to provide a stricter policy regulating police use of force. The bill, AB 392, would direct police to “use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life” and, when possible, to use techniques to de-escalate the situation before shooting. It does not explicitly define what would be considered “necessary,” though courts could consider the actions of both the officer and the suspect when determining whether the force was justified. Such legislation could promote trust in the police.

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and Office of Public Safety (Report)

For further content on the New York State’s Use of Force policy, read this recently published, September 2020, Use of Force Model Policy by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and Office of Public Safety.   Find out more on the Use of Force reporting from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services webpage.


Body Camera Legislation (Laws)

Read the newly signed legislation by Governor Cuomo requiring all New York State police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol (S.8493/A.8674) and the creation of the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office (S.3595-C/A.10002).  

New York State Civil Liberties Union (Report)
Visit the New York State Civil Liberties Union for comprehensive information around all citizen’s rights and responsibilities with encounters with police.



The Center for Policing Equity (Reports)

Learn about The Center for Policing Equity and their commitment of equity and inclusiveness within the police department itself and throughout the service community remains strong. Center for Policing Equity’s work simultaneously aids police departments to realize their own equity goals as well as advance the scientific understanding of issues of equity within organizations and policing.  Learn more about their work and read their Policy Plan for Policing in America documents and this paper, The Science of Justice: Race, Arrests, and Police Use of Force.

Amnesty International: The World is Watching (Reports)

Amnesty International has collected comprehensive research calling attention to the widespread police violence targeting black and brown communities across the US. Find information on The World is Watching: Mass Violations by US Police of Black Lives Matter Protesters' Rights.

The National Academy of Science of the USA

A research article published in 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS) states: 


“Police violence is a leading cause of death for young men in the United States. Over the life course, about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police. Risk of being killed by police peaks between the ages of 20 y and 35 y for men and women and for all racial and ethnic groups. Black women and men and American Indian and Alaska Native women and men are significantly more likely than white women and men to be killed by police. Latino men are also more likely to be killed by police than are white men.”


Read the article and data found here ”Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex”.

From The Lancet - Police Killings and Effects on Mental Health

In Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study, the authors research found:

“Police killings of unarmed black Americans have adverse effects on mental health among black American adults in the general population. Programmes should be implemented to decrease the frequency of police killings and to mitigate adverse mental health effects within communities when such killings do occur.”


From the American Sociological Review - Police Brutality and Effects on Education

In Aggressive Policing and the Educational Performance of Minority Youth, the authors study focused on

“the first causal evidence of the impact of aggressive policing on minority youths’ educational performance. Under Operation Impact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) saturated high-crime areas with additional police officers with the mission to engage in aggressive, order-maintenance policing. To estimate the effect of this policing program, we use administrative data from more than 250,000 adolescents age 9 to 15 and a difference-in-differences approach based on variation in the timing of police surges across neighborhoods.”


From the Law & Society Review

Research by the Law & Society Review  Stop, Frisk, and Assault? Racial Disparities in Police Use of Force During Investigatory Stops found that:

“Black civilians are more likely to be stopped by police than white civilians net of relevant factors. Less is known about whether or not racial inequalities exist in police use of force during stops. Using data on over 2 million police stops in New York City from 2007 to 2014 and drawing on literatures on race, policing, and the Black Lives Matter movement, we test hypotheses regarding the associations between race, civilian behavior, age, and police use of force. We also investigate whether recent reforms reduced any observed inequality in police violence during stops. Findings show that Black and White civilians experience fundamentally different interactions with police. Black civilians are particularly more likely to experience potential lethal force when police uncover criminal activity and this disparity is greatest for black youth compared to white youth.”

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