Giving Compass' Take:

• At Futurity, legal experts Ron Tyler and Suzanne Luban discuss the lack of police accountability for excessive violence and how we can work toward reform.

• Why is accountability essential in prohibiting further brutality and injustice within police forces? What can you do to push for legal action towards police accountability?  

• Discover more about your role in fighting for police accountability and racial justice.

Horrifying images of George Floyd dying on a Minneapolis street while a police officer knelt on his neck have sparked peaceful protests and rioting throughout the country.

The latest in a string of killings of unarmed black Americans, the incident once again raises questions about training and the use of force by police and the ability of prosecutors to hold police accountable.

Here, Ron Tyler, professor of law and director of Stanford Law’s Criminal Defense Clinic, and Suzanne Luban, clinical supervising attorney and lecturer in law, discuss the Floyd case and offer suggestions for a way forward:

Luban: A serious flaw in the training of officers is the philosophy that the degree of force called for is the “amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject.” Police may end up using more severe or damaging force than warranted by the nature of the crime suspected or the type of noncompliance. After George Floyd complained of claustrophobia when the officers forced him into the police car, the officers dragged him out of the car and pressed him facedown onto the street. Three officers kneeled to apply pressure on Mr. Floyd’s airway and chest. When Mr. Floyd cried out, another officer taunted him, saying, “Get up. Get in the car.” The officers’ continued pressure on his neck and back prevented him from getting up.

Tyler: Certain recommendations have been championed by reformers for years. Top of the list: giving real power to independent bodies to investigate citizen complaints against police officers and take meaningful action against charged officers including public disclosure and sanctions up to removal and referral for prosecution.

Rooting out officers engaged in explicit bias is key, but addressing implicit bias is also critical.

Read the full interview about police accountability  with Ron Tyler and Suzanna Luban at Futurity.