Rights of the Public: Lessons Learned Recommendations from Civil Rights Litigation

Rights of the Public

Remain cognizant of the public’s right to peacefully gather, observe, photograph, record, and/or comment on officer conduct

Baltimore, MD           East Haven, CT           Ferguson, MO           Los Angeles County, CA           New Orleans, LA
Yonkers, NY

Train officers on the limits to the rights of the public per departmental policy

  • Document and report to supervisors, instances where officers order members of the public to stop recording
  • Report to supervisors when officers believe they were recorded by the public

Baltimore, MD           East Haven, CT

Develop a process for soliciting formal feedback from external offices on the quality of law enforcement activity

  • These stakeholders include prosecutor’s offices, public defender’s offices, and judges

Refrain from restricting an individual’s freedom during an investigatory stop or detention in any of the following ways (unless there is a basis for justifying the action): 

  • Taking away a person’s identification
  • Ordering a motorist to exit the vehicle
  • Placing a pedestrian against a wall
  • Directing a person to stand or remain standing not of their choosing
  • Directing a person to lie on the ground
  • Applying handcuffs
  • Placing someone in a police vehicle
  • Frisking
  • Unholstering or pointing a weapon

Baltimore, MD           Ferguson, MO  

Make analysis of data, departmental policies, and reports available to the public

  • These reports could also be posted online when reasonable

Alamance County, NC           Baltimore, MD           New Orleans, LA           Puerto Rico

The information provided above has come directly from the consent decree language, which can be accessed by clicking on each corresponding city’s consent decree. When additional information was needed, subject-matter experts from the Department of Justice provided input. This information is intended to guide departments on decisions and actions to improve their Constitutional policing practices. Additional resources and information may be needed to implement these recommendations successfully. For assistance in implementing recommendations, contact the Knowledge Lab team.

Do you have resources to share with the field? Are you an agency that is doing this work as well?

Do you have resources to share with the field? Are you an agency that is doing this work as well?