Policing and the Law: Legal Tools to Address Police Impunity


Add to My Calendar Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:00pm

Recent events, including the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, have returned the spotlight to the relationship between police departments and the communities they patrol. The nation has periodically – and often all too briefly – turned its attention to this relationship in the wake of high profile incidents, such as the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, the shooting of Amadou Diallo in New York, and the shootings on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. These incidents have generated protest and, in some instances, civil disturbances. They also generate state and federal criminal investigations, civil litigation by individuals, and civil investigations and litigation by the federal government into allegations that police departments have systematically violated individual rights. This program will examine the legal tools available to address allegations of misconduct by officers. We will talk about the roles of state and federal prosecutors and discuss the legal and cultural elements that make prosecutions of police officers challenging. We will also discuss the effectiveness of internal police investigations, as well as civil litigation by the federal government and private individuals, including Floyd v. City of New York in New York City.

What: Panel on Policing and the Law
When: February 19th at 12:00-2:00 pm
Where: American University Washington College of Law, Room 603
RSVP: Register here. Registration is free but required. 1.5 CLE credits available with $55 fee.


  • Sunita Patel, Practitioner in Residence and former CCR Attorney in Floyd v. City of New York
  • William Yeomans, Fellow in Law and Government and former acting U. S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
  • Barry Kowalski, former civil rights prosecutor of the officers who beat Rodney King and others
  • Carlos Acosta, Inspector General of the Prince Georges County Police Department and former prosecutor
  • Moderated by Julie Fernandes, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations


Last modified 

February 11, 2015