A central, public database to hold law enforcement officers accountable is long overdue. Attorney General Merrick Garland must act to establish the National Law Enforcement Accountability Database that President Joe Biden ordered in May 2022 to bolster law enforcement transparency and better protect the American people.
On May 25th, 2022, President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating that, within 240 days of its signing, the Attorney General establish a National Law Enforcement Accountability Database to document and store records of instances of officer misconduct. Though it’s been 294 days since the executive order was signed, a public database has not been established and Merrick Garland’s office has not provided an update on the status. A comprehensive, public database with records of officer misconduct cannot wait any longer.
CREW, with 28 other advocacy groups, sent a letter to Garland today calling for an update on the Accountability Database and underscored the importance and urgency of establishing a public repository of records.
In light of recent events such as the brutal killing of Tyre Nichols, the need for a national database documenting officer misconduct and brutality has only grown more apparent in the time since Biden signed the executive order. Police brutality and violence against Americans—especially Black Americans, who are disproportionately victims of police violence—must be comprehensively documented for the public to be able to use to hold these officers and institutions accountable.