Activists in the growing movement for police reform in the U.S. have for months targeted large police budgets as a central impediment to change, flooding streets and municipal Zoom meetings with demands to “defund the police.”
But for years behind the scenes, other reform advocates have pinpointed another roadblock to progress: police unions and the influence they wield.
Now, two prominent organizations — the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Campaign Zero — have each launched online campaigns challenging police union contracts in big cities like Los Angeles and state laws that have cemented union-backed protections in California and elsewhere.
DeRay Mckesson, an activist with Campaign Zero, said his group first began researching police union contracts and Officers Bill of Rights laws in 2015, and quickly came to realize that they are “one of the key levers that block the transformative change that people have demanded.”
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