Federal Enforcement of Police Reform

This article examines the enforcement of 42 U.S.C. § 14141, which permits the U.S. Attorney General to initiate structural reform litigation against police agencies engaged in systemic misconduct. Using original empirical data, it shows that the Justice Department employs a messy and imprecise process to identify agencies in violation of § 14141. Resource limitations prevent aggressive enforcement. The Justice Department has also inconsistently enforced § 14141. Changes in internal policies have influenced the breadth and depth of the Justice Department’s enforcement.

Citation: Stephen Rushin, Federal Enforcement of Police Reform, 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)