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Race + Criminal Legal System: Racially Charged Misdemeanors
Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 3:00 PM until 4:30 PM
Approximately 13 million misdemeanor charges are filed each year in the United States, representing around 80% of all cases. Today, law enforcement’s unchecked discretion allows them to use the extensive collection of misdemeanor offenses as a pretext to stop, search, and arrest individuals—disproportionately Black and Latinx individuals— for behaviors that have little or nothing to do with public safety. In serving as the justification for these stops, misdemeanors often function as a gateway to police violence, as in the cases of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Daunte Wright, and George Floyd, each of whom was stopped for a suspected misdemeanor.
Lisa Wayne, Past President of NACDL and the current President of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice, will moderate a discussion around Brave New Films’ recently released documentary Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem. This short film traces America’s modern misdemeanor system back to the post-civil war period, unpacking the criminalization of certain conduct as a means for social and economic control over Black Americans. Panelists will include Alexandra Natapoff, the Lee S. Kreindler Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal; and Calvin Booth, Chair of the Drug Policy Working Group at The People’s Commission to Decriminalize Maryland.
This event is presented by NACDL.
Please note: They will not be screening the film during the event on June 30th and are encouraging all attendees to watch it prior to the discussion. The film is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm2PxE0HMr4