This week, Reuters published “Shots in the Dark,” our series about one man who was shot by a cop - and his fight to clear his name. His story shows the challenges cities face trying to change policing and how, in America, police largely police themselves.…
We looked at recent police union contracts in 100 large cities and found that - even with policing under intense scrutiny - unions have mostly kept protections won in earlier contracts. Some won new rights that make oversight harder.

See my 2017 piece:…
We also analyzed 118 court and labor board rulings. Even when cities want to reform their police, state labor laws often stand in their way. The laws require cities to negotiate with public employee unions over changes in working conditions, including discipline.
In America, police union contracts, state labor laws and court rulings have created a system that largely leaves it to the cops themselves, rather than independent investigators, to police their own conduct.
Contracts in most cities (88 out of 100) set strict limits on how civilian complaints are investigated or cops punished. In Omaha, NE, complaints must be signed in front of a police officer:
Contracts in 25 cities include language that neutralizes outside oversight boards by limiting who can serve on them, their access to department records or their ability to question officers. Here is an example from the current contract in Orlando, FL:
Nearly half of police union contracts set a schedule for purging or sealing files, or allow the officer to erase their disciplinary record. In Baton Rouge, for example, complaints alleging sexual misconduct are destroyed after 5 years:
Beyond contracts, state-level “bills of rights” for law enforcement often include language limiting outside oversight. Here’s an example from Minnesota’s Peace Officer Discipline Procedures Act: (…):
Police unions often object to unilateral changes in disciplinary policy, and many disagreements end up before arbitrators or judges. We found unions across the country have had broad success challenging city efforts to impose reform @specialreports @lisagirion
While protesters across America are demanding police reform from mayors and city councils, in many cases state legislators hold the key to the changes they seek.

(Thanks for reading.)

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Reade Levinson

Reade Levinson Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!