Missouri has the opportunity to lead if the legislature prioritizes reducing racial disparities in policing and promoting accountable, collaborative, community-centered law enforcement.
Empower Missouri, Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), Missouri State Chapter of the NAACP, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression (CAPCR), Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) and the ACLU of Missouri fully support Senate Bill 828, filed by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis).
Addressing issues in policing will impact both Missouri’s economy and communities across the state. The eyes of the nation have watched Missouri since the not-guilty verdict of former St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer Jason Stockley in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith. With increased accountability and more dialogue between law enforcement and the community, Missouri can work toward a future where all are treated equally.
African-American drivers in Missouri are 75 percent more likely to be stopped than whites, according to a 2016 report from the Missouri Attorney General's office. This unequal treatment of people of color while driving has been documented for more than 17 years.
Senate Bill 828 emphasizes the importance of data collection to help the public understand how their local law enforcement agencies are operating. The increased data collection also helps agencies target problems in order to eliminate bias in policing.
- Formally prohibits discrimination in policing.
- Creates accountability by requiring law enforcement agencies to review their vehicle stop data yearly and report back to the community.
- Requires that officers who police unfairly face discipline, as well as counseling and training.
- Mandates that officers ask for consent to search someone in easily understood terms. Officers also must document when a person gave permission for the search. Searches can only take place when an officer has specific facts that lead them to ask a person for consent to search.
From Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis:
“It is time Missouri treats all of its people fairly. Our state has the opportunity to lead the country in our approach to policing. This bill gives us the information to analyze and act when we see red flags with a particular law enforcement agency.”
From Missouri NAACP State Conference President Nimrod Chapel: “It is time Missouri takes a step forward to show the world our commitment to justice and equality for all.”
From Empower Missouri Executive Director Jeanette Mott Oxford:
“The impact of the 2000 racial profiling bill has been weakened because law enforcement agencies did not have confidence in the analysis of the data. This reform calls on agencies to review their Vehicle Stops Reports in order to give communities a starting point for dialogue, leading to greater trust and cooperation.”
From ACLU of Missouri Legislative and Policy Director Sara Baker:
“We support this bill because to create long-term change, we must address the problems of policing and racial disparities collaboratively. We must create accountability for law enforcement and foster understanding and trust with the community.”