The prevalence of hate group affiliations in police departments has been well-documented by research organizations and governmental agencies for years. Despite knowledge of this persistent threat growing within their ranks, police departments continue to hire officers without conducting thorough checks for ties to hate groups, fail to create policies that prohibit officers from affiliating with hate groups, and only discipline or terminate officers if their affiliation with a hate group becomes public. Left unchecked, officers affiliated with hate groups—some of which have committed acts of domestic terrorism or pose domestic terrorist threats—and officers who have expressed explicit bias will continue, under the color of law, to harm communities that are already over-policed and underserved: people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities. Allowing individuals who hold these biases to join and remain on police forces threatens public safety, undermines the legitimacy of policing, and further erodes what little trust some communities have in the police and the criminal legal system.
Legislative Issue Area