Still Waiting for an End to Police Discrimination in Spain

Rosalind Williams has a special place in the struggle against discrimination by European police forces against people of color and ethnic minorities. Twenty years ago, she was stopped and asked for her identity papers by Spanish police in a railway station. An African-American who had acquired Spanish citizenship by marriage, she was travelling with her …

It Takes Two to Tango: Towards Integrated Development and Security Sector Reform (SSR) Assistance

*NOTE: This is an excerpt of Chapter 12 in the edited volume "Back to the Roots: Security Sector Reform and Development", edited by Albrecht Schnabel and Vanessa Farr and published by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) as their 2012 Yearly Book. This work was written with Albrecht Schnabel and …

Mapping Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces

It is widely assumed, at least from a Western perspective, that the armed forces provide national defence against external threats. In reality, within many consolidated Western democracies the armed forces are assuming an increasingly wide range of internal roles and tasks. These can include domestic security roles and the provision of humanitarian assistance in situations of natural or humanitarian catastrophe, often under the command and control of different civilian agencies. This SSR Paper seeks to make sense of this complex reality. Different internal roles of armed forces are analysed, drawing on the cases of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Through carefully examining evolving internal roles and identifying patterns and lessons from these experiences, this SSR Paper provides an important contribution to understanding the evolving nature of contemporary armed forces.

The Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform: Conceptualising a Complex Relationship

There is a clear need to better understand the relationship between two concepts at the heart of peacebuilding: the Rule of Law (RoL), and Security Sector Reform (SSR). If it is acknowledged in principle that they are interdependent, in practice enduring conceptual ambiguities and contradictions undermine latent synergies. As a consequence, international donor agencies are …

Policing the Police: Civilian Video Monitoring of Police Activity

Police misconduct and violence continues throughout the world, often without any oversight, accountability or justice for the victims. Recent deaths of civilians by police officers in New York, violent repression of “Occupy” protestors, and rampant police violence in response to the “Arab Spring” have brought renewed attention to the persistent issue of police violence. A …

Statement presented to the Public Safety Committee of the New York City Council on NYPD Stop-and-Frisk and Oversight

*NOTE: This statement was presented to the New York City Council's Public Safety Committee regarding internal oversight and accountability mechanisms within the NYPD. The statement detailed continued racial profiling and unconstitutional stop-and-frisks by the NYPD, failure to implement discipline for substantiated cases of misconduct, and recommendation to appoint a special prosecutor and independent police auditor. …

Racial Disparities in NYPD Stops-and-Frisks: Preliminary Report on UF-250 data from 2005 – June 2008

*NOTE: The full report, available here, was published by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on January 15, 2009. I conducted this analysis and drafted the report while on staff of CCR (from 2004-2009). This analysis was submitted to the New York City Council in testimony, and conducted as part of Floyd et al v City of New York …

Backgrounder on Racial Profiling and Police Brutality Against People of Color in New York City Prepared for the Special Rapporteur on Racism on the occasion of his 2008 mission to the U.S.

“Quality of Life” Policing In New York City and its surrounding boroughs, racial profiling and police brutality have been institutionalized through a series of “quality of life” programs enforced by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). These purported “anti-crime” programs are based on a theory of “zero tolerance” for even minor offenses. Under the …

Bobby Sands, Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice

Bobby Sands, officer of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who rose to international prominence in 1981 when he embarked on a fatal hunger strike while imprisoned for activities related to the IRA’s armed campaign against the British government. Sands’s rough childhood, which included several assaults by unionist paramilitaries and local Protestant gangs, led to his …