Phillip Atiba Goff, Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, testified before a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, “Oversight Hearing on Police Practices,” on September 19, 2019. The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary has been tasked since 1813 with reviewing legislation related to the judicial system. It is chaired by Representative Jerrold Nadler (Democrat, New York); the Vice Chair is Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (Democrat, Pennsylvania). The other individuals who presented testimonies at the hearing included Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lynda Garcia, Policing Campaign Director at the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, and Heather McDonald, Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
Goff’s testimony outlines the scope of the problem with racial bias in policing in the United States and suggests a way forward with new policies and legislation. Goff asserts that in order to improve public safety we must analyze police data to develop solutions that reduce disparate policing outcomes. Among the recommendations Goff shares from the Center for Policing Equity and Yale Racial Justice Collaboratory are developing a national model policy for use of police force and expanding funding for police departments to engage in trainings in procedural justice and reconciliation programing with local communities. Goff also calls for the establishment of a national review board modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board that would focus on establishing patterns of errors and publicizing best practices for preventing wrongdoing in law enforcement. Finally, Goff endorses the passage of the End Racial Profiling Act as an important next step towards more equitable policing.
Goff is the co-founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity. The Russell Sage Foundation is a longtime supporter of Goff’s work. He was a visiting scholar at the foundation during the 2008-2009 academic year and served as a member of the Racial Bias in Policing Working Group. RSF has underwritten Goff’s research on racial bias in policing, racial profiling, and public trust in law enforcement.