“Campaign Zero,” marks the most sweeping and detailed policy platform to emerge along with the Black Lives Matter movement. On a slickly produced website, it proposes 10 reform tenets, many backed with specific policy proposals to end the hundreds of police killings that happen annually in the U.S.
The campaign’s pillars include limiting police use of force, beefing up oversight of police departments with civilian review boards and equipping officers with body cameras. The activists call for an end to aggressive police tactics and heavy fines when it comes to minor infractions that tend to fall disproportionately on black Americans.
The group also adopted model police programs and proposals from around the country. A call to end police ticket quotas points to Illinois law as a reference. A proposal to restrict the use of SWAT teams except for crisis situations cites Cincinnati police policy. One proposal to strengthen oversight suggests supporting an existing congressional bill that would incentivize independent investigations of police misconduct.
Campaign Zero was created by DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie, Brittany Packnett — three of the most prominent activists to emerge during last year’s unrest in Ferguson, Mo. — and Samuel Sinyangwe, a San Francisco-based policy expert.
“We’ve always had demands,” said Mckesson, who shared the proposals with the hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers he has amassed since the protests in Ferguson. He said Campaign Zero has collected those demands made by various activists around the U.S. as police use of force has become a fixture of public debate.
“Now that there’s this awareness, we have an opportunity to end police violence, and this is a blueprint for how we can do it,” Mckesson said.
Protesters associated with the national movement that emerged after the protests in Ferguson have been criticized in recent months for carrying out disruptive demonstrations but not engaging as much with the less dramatic processes of policymaking.
Other modern, social-media driven movements in the U.S. and abroad have come under similar criticisms. There were Occupy Wall Street’s leaderless, often directionless protest encampments and the Tahrir Square activists in Egypt who proved influential on Twitter but powerless at the ballot box.
The term “Black Lives Matter” has also drawn some confusion because it is a decentralized organization that also serves as a rallying cry and a hashtag — and now a quick media shorthand to collectively refer to the new generation of black activists.
The founders of Campaign Zero, although they do not call themselves leaders and don’t claim to speak for others, include activists who have accumulated power and influence in the form of large social media followings and I-was-there credibility.
As a result, they have drawn the attention of presidential campaigns undoubtedly hoping to secure votes from African Americans in the next election.
Read more: LA Times
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