Richmond, VA - After many months of grassroots organizing by New Virginia Majority along with coalition partners Legal Aid Justice Center, Advancement Project, and Southerners on New Ground (SONG), the Richmond Police Department (RPD) has agreed to publicly release police data each month starting on February 1.
The initial data will include information on RPD's use of force and the number and type of complaints made to RPD. RPD will also publish information on the race and gender of community members who experienced the use of force and/or filed complaints, what neighborhoods the incidents occurred in, as well as how these cases were resolved. In recent meetings, coalition members continued to push RPD to release similar information on stops and arrests.
"I feel empowered by the communities that pushed for this much-needed transparency in the police department. We really do have a voice at all levels of our community and this win is proof. I appreciate Chief Durham and the Richmond Police Department for meeting with us, listening to our concerns, and making an effort to deliver on our asks." – Todd Lee, member of New Virginia Majority
“We understand initiatives such as body cameras, data transparency, and civilian review boards will not necessarily overhaul police culture, however, it is our duty to do everything in our power to make sure officers sworn to protect all and serve all are held accountable for their actions. This victory would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Richmond community who have stood unafraid and shared their stories of abuse by the police and their radical visions of what community policing should look like.” – Assaddique Abdul-Rahman, Community Organizer, New Virginia Majority
"Lack of transparency yields mistrust from communities, especially communities of color and LGBT folks who are heavily policed. At SONG we believe that reform around data transparency and police accountability is a necessary step in living in a world free from fear." – Micky Jordan, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) organizer
"Across Virginia, there is a lack of publicly available information about who is policed and what that policing looks like. This black box around law enforcement activity not only undermines community trust but prevents open, constructive conversations about problems that do exist and, more importantly, potential solutions." – Kimberly Rolla, Attorney at Legal Aid Justice Center's Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program
“While local communities across the country, have been organizing in the face of police murder and misconduct, most efforts have fallen short of creating meaningful transformation communities can believe in. Organizing efforts in Richmond that have procured an agreement from the Richmond Police Department to release key data, is the first step in being able to identify any problematic practices and outcomes that impact the most vulnerable communities in Richmond.” – Angelo Pinto, Advancement Project
This data rollout is a significant first step toward Police Chief Alfred Durham’s vocalized interest in establishing RPD as a strong model for police accountability. We look forward to continuing conversations with Chief Durham and RPD as we fight for justice in our communities.
New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization, and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic, and environmentally sustainable
Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small towns, LGBTQ people in the South. We believe that we are bound together by a shared desire for ourselves, each other, and our communities to survive and thrive. We believe that Community Organizing is the best way for us to build collective power and transform the South. Out of this belief, we are committed to building freedom movements rooted in southern traditions like community organizing, political education, storytelling, music, breaking bread, resistance, humor, performance, critical thinking, and celebration.
The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty through litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing. LAJC’s Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program works to end the criminalization of poverty in Virginia by exposing and addressing the connections among policing, poverty, race, and injustice.
Advancement Project is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive, and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high-impact policy change.