Dear President Barack Obama

It is an honor to speak to you sir. I would like to say that I want to see the topics discussed in this toolkit implemented to change the policies of policing. I feel however that you are missing some important pieces which I would like to highlight.

Great quotes from the Toolkit:

“Each of us has the power, individually and collectively, to effect change through grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, and civic engagement.”

“Through advocacy and participation in community oversight, you can help hold departments accountable for individual and systemic problems and shape policy to prevent future violations.”

“By shaping public opinion through organizing and advocacy, you can influence lawmakers and law enforcement officials to change the way policing happens in your community”

The toolkit however said something I disagree with:

“The Stanford Open Policing Project, the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Mapping Police Violence Project are good sources of national data.”

This just isn’t true. Please see the testimony of James Comey before the House Judiciary Committee:

(56:37) Comey: I THINK IT’S EMBARRASSING FOR THOSE OF US IN GOVERNMENT WHO CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THESE ISSUES ESPECIALLY THE USE OF FORCE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT WE CAN’T HAVE AN INFORMED DISCUSSION BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE DATA. PEOPLE HAVE DATA ABOUT WHO WENT TO A MOVIE LAST WEEKEND OR HOW MANY BOOKS WERE SOLD OR HOW MANY CASES OF THE FLU WALKED INTO AN EMERGENCY ROOM AND I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE SHOCKED BY POLICE IN THE UNITED STATES LAST MONTH, LAST YEAR KS OR ANYTHING ABOUT THE DEMOGRAPHICS AND THAT’S A VERY BAD PLACE TO BE.

Conyers: WHY, SIR, DOES THE F.B.I. HAVE TROUBLE COLLECTING THIS INFORMATION?

Comey: THE BIG CHALLENGE, MR. CONYERS, IS THAT IT IS A — REQUIRES COOPERATION FROM 18,000 LAW ENFORCEMENT ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY AND WE ARE A BIG, DIVERSE COUNTRY OF MANY DIFFERENT SIZE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE LAW ENFORCEMENT SPACE. WE’VE NEVER ALL SAT TOGETHER AND SAID LET’S CHANGE THE WAY WE DO THIS AND I’M OPTIMISTIC WE’RE ABOUT TO DO THAT.

But this was more than four years ago in 2015. Have things improved? No Mr. President I’m sorry to say they have not on the national level.

There is a solution to this problem

Communities can publish their own authoritative statistics which can lead to informed discussions on policy and policing. We have to give communities this authority, I feel very strongly about this. This is why I built a protocol that would allow for authoritative publishing of police violence against communities. If you can please give me a chance I would ask you to please read these posts outlining my R&D efforts to develop this protocol:

One day I hope we can have informed discussions on policing. We need data, we need to know what is happening in our communities. If you know of a better way I would love for you to tell me what it is.

Thank you very much sir.

Joshua Davis

Written by

Incentives architect for TandaPay

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