The policies and actions of the police are instrumental in deciding who gets stopped, searched, arrested, and funneled into the criminal justice system; indeed, the United States’ overincarceration crisis begins at the front end of the system. Meanwhile, often under the guise of our failed drug war, abuse of civil asset forfeiture is rampant, while federal grant programs enable the increasing militarization of local police departments. The ACLU relies on various strategies to challenge a broad range of unjust police practices—including litigation against departments engaged in unconstitutional and counterproductive practices, as well as policy advocacy to win broader measures to hold public officials accountable. Ultimately, our efforts are intended to address the longstanding adversarial relationship between police and communities and to help create police departments that work collaboratively and democratically with all of the communities they serve, increasing transparency, accountability, fairness, and public safety.

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