Politicians, celebrities and civil rights activists have been sharing and touting #8CantWait, a movement led by Campaign Zero to enact eight basic police policies that have been proven to reduce police violence.
While the movement has gained steam in recent days due to the worldwide protests against police brutality, some activists have questioned whether the eight rules are effective, considering some cities with the worst police violence have already enacted many of them.
According to the #8CantWait website, the eight policies include a ban on shooting moving vehicles, a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds, a requirement to use shooting only as a last resort and mandatory, comprehensive reporting by officers. The policies also include requirements that officers give warnings before firing their weapons and stop others from using excessive force.
The #8CantWait website includes an interactive component that shows users which policies have been enacted in their cities and provides resources for them to contact their mayors and ask that these policies be put in place as soon as possible.
The initiative also suggests that limits be placed on the type of force or weapons that can be used in specific situations.
The platform has been supported by Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Jada Pinkett Smith and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In an interview with GQ, activist DeRay Mckesson spoke about the difficulties with the policies.
“The hard part is this analysis and data is new and the first of its kind. And the police say, ‘If you restrict our ability to use these types of force, you make us less safe.’ That actually isn’t true. In cities where there are more restrictive force policies, the police are actually safer, and communities are actually safer. The police will also say things about crime being rampant if they can’t use force. That’s not true either,” Mckesson said.
Brittany Packnett Cunningham, the co-founder of Campaign Zero, wrote on Twitter that these eight policies are being pushed because they can be enacted without legislation or executive orders.
Today, we launched #8cantwait.
Together, these 8 use of force policies decrease police violence by up to 70%.
No act of Congress or executive order needed. Mayors just need to do the right thing. Our lives are at stake.
— brittany packnett cunningham does not do remixes. (@MsPackyetti) June 3, 2020
#8CantWait has been trending on Twitter over the past few days due to a number of high-profile actors and activists pushing the movement.
But, some have raised questions about how the rules can truly be enforced when police departments that enacted some or all of them, like those in Baltimore, San Francisco and New York City, continue to circumvent them. Some have also noted that police already break many of the laws limiting their actions anyway.
Even San Francisco Mayor London Breed admitted that her city's police department had a long way to go even after putting all eight policies in place.
San Francisco has enacted all eight of the #8cantwait policies, but we know there's still more work to be done.
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) June 4, 2020
Many advocates have said these eight rules are a jumping-off point that can lead to further efforts to restrict police violence.
Importantly, this work is not in conflict with the goal of shrinking the role of the police and their budget. It’s cost neutral and as long as police continue to exist, even with a reduced budget, they ought to have clear standards that limit their power to kill and save lives.
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) June 3, 2020
Ending qualified immunity takes an act of Congress, we’ve been working with members of congress to pass it. 8cantwait focuses on things Mayors can do immediately to reduce the harm police can cause as we also push for solutions that take legislation (like budgets and QI).
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) June 4, 2020
While the policies have many advocates, there are a number of people with questions about how they will work out in practice.
People may be well-intentioned in contributing to that #8cantwait campaign but it dilutes the movement towards systemic changes in policing.
MPD and NYPD already have half of these cosmetic reforms. LAPD has most. SFPD has all. They hasn't been enough. We need them DEFUNDED. pic.twitter.com/4NhwyH3DVB
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) June 4, 2020
Lastly, the math behind #8cantwait – "data proves that together these eight policies can decrease police violence by 72%" is suspect at best. It comes from a 2016 study comparing PDs that have 0 of those policies vs all 8, not before-and-after implementation. It's not accurate.
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) June 5, 2020
.#8cantwait ain’t it. #CampaignZero is suggesting 8 police reforms that have already been adopted by most cities. The LAPD has 5/8 already in place. Not cutting it. Do not let it distract from our core needs 1) DEFUNDING police & 2) REALLOCATING those funds to other services.
— Aimee Carrero ????✊???? (@aimeecarrero) June 4, 2020
Cunningham and others have defended the platform, saying the policies are a step toward better policing and not the end of efforts to curb violent police practices.
Everyone does just like we are doing now. That doesn’t stop.
The civil rights mvmt didn’t end because the voting rights act was passed.#8CantWait is a *specific* harm reduction campaign that stands *in conjunction* with all others, including and up to abolition. We don’t stop. https://t.co/MZeJmRTZTy
— brittany packnett cunningham does not do remixes. (@MsPackyetti) June 4, 2020
But creating legislation that we can point to and say "this is exactly where the cops infringed" isn't…bad? Like I think it might be a step rather than a leap in the right direction, but not sure why we're mad at steps? 2/2
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) June 4, 2020
I think I've gotten enough responses to this. I'll just say we can't keep making perfect the enemy of good. It's not bad to make all police departments adopt this while we continue marching towards liberation. There are people fighting the bigger fight if you just zoom out.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) June 4, 2020
Former President Barack Obama
spoke about the eight policies during his virtual town hall earlier this month, telling the audience that they had been shown to have noticeable effects on the rate and frequency of police violence.