Dear ABA Consortium Members,
Yesterday, five former police officers who were fired for their actions during their arrest of Tyre Nichols were indicted in Memphis on charges including murder and kidnapping. Today, as the nation braces itself for the release of the video footage of the encounter, I am reminded of the important work we have ahead of us as law school members of the ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium. I am proud of the work we have done together thus far, but ever mindful of the long road ahead.
How do we hold on to hope for a better tomorrow? We do so by pushing harder for justice. As member schools of the Consortium, we are joined together to work for an end to violence at the hands of law enforcement. We unite because we know we can do more collectively than any one of us can do on our own. Our work is ongoing, it is important, and it is having an impact.
Just this week, two events gave me hope about the promise of our initiative. On Monday, 41 law students from 28 member schools came together for the launch of our 3rd cohort of Fellows. These bright and eager law students will spend the semester researching, collaborating, and envisioning ways to improve police practices and re-imagining public safety in America. During our time together over Zoom on Monday, the fellows took a moment to introduce themselves and shared their reasons for participating in this fellowship program. I was so inspired by the diverse experiences each brings to this work and their desire to solve the problems that come far too often and hurt far too much. I am quite certain we will learn much from these students over the course of the semester.
On Wednesday, the Consortium hosted a virtual roundtable with Professor Rachel Harmon (University of Virginia School of Law), the author of The Law of Police casebook. She shared the table of contents and preface (attached here) and discussed ways in which this resource might be tailored to suit the needs of interested Consortium member schools. We hope to publish an abbreviated version of the textbook for members later this year to better support you in implementing this important resource in your curriculum. Associate Dean Melanie Reid (Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law) expressed it best when she said that the event exemplified the value of the Consortium by providing an opportunity for faculty to share ideas on what is currently being taught as well as discuss ways in which we can learn from one another in teaching issues related to both policing theory and practice. “I would never have had the courage to develop and teach (a police practices course) without the support of those in the Consortium.” Thank you to those that were able to join this event. Please stay tuned for more information on next steps and enroll in the Consortium’s newsletter here (sign up is at the bottom of the landing page).
The release of the video of the police encounter with Mr. Nichols will be hard to watch. Ben Crump, counsel for Mr. Nichols’ family, reminds us though, that news from Memphis officials “that these five officers are being held criminally accountable for their deadly and brutal actions gives us hope as we continue to push for justice for Tyre.” And justice for all.
Madeleine M. Landrieu
Dean and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier
Distinguished Professor of Law
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Chair, ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium Deans’ Advisory Committee