Skip to content

My Brother's Keeper Alliance

The Obama Foundation Logo

Insights from Black Law Enforcement Leaders on the Future of Policing

Reimagining Policing: Insights from Black Law Enforcement Leaders on the Future of Policing

As the fourth of an ongoing workshop series to engage community leaders to address police violence, Former Deputy Assistant to President Obama for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity Roy Austin joined Charlottesville Chief of Police Dr. R

Reimagining Policing Workshop Series

During this workshop we heard from Black law enforcement leaders about their unique perspective on the historic protests and calls for police reform in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. 

Black law enforcement leadership provided mayors and their teams with candid reflections on what it takes to combat racism in policing, while increasing public safety and supporting and sustaining Black leadership in police forces. This virtual workshop is a continuation of our ongoing series hosted in partnership with Cities United and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to provide educational tools and analysis on the spectrum of policing and public safety options, alternative public safety models, and community-centered review processes.


Dr. RaShall M. Brackney, Chief of Police

Charlottesville, Virginia

Jerry Clayton, Sheriff

Washtenaw County, Michigan

Dwayne Crawford, Executive Director

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals

Moderator: Roy Austin, Principal

Partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP

Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity

"Language matters. And the fact that we call these individuals justice-involved or formerly justice-involved is a reflection of their humanity and how we see them, and it's incredibly important.”

—Roy Austin, partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP and former deputy assistant to President Obama for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity

Roy Austin

“If you want to be an ally or an alliance, don't designate yourself as that—let someone else designate you as an ally. You need to step back and allow those voices who need to be heard to be elevated to the forefront… I say become an alliance. An ally is somebody who's connected. An alliance means, ‘I'm willing to even be behind you and leverage every resource, every privilege I have in order to move forward and I don't need to be in the spotlight to do that.’”

Dr. RaShall M. Brackney, chief of police in Charlottesville, Virginia

RaShall M. Brackney

“We have to work on changing the nature of the relationship [between Black men and police], not in times where there’s crisis. I hear all the time, ‘Something happened. Now let's go out and reach out to the community. Let's have a forum. Let's talk.’ No. That time has passed… We have to engage the community and our young folks deliberately, thoughtfully, and do it in times where we're not in crisis.”

—Jerry Clayton, sheriff of Washtenaw County, Michigan

Jerry Clayton

“I would encourage our mayors to get the private sector involved. Not in making the selection, but having an input in that process and providing more of a support system. None of these chiefs and our sheriffs can do it by themselves. And what concerns me a lot is putting some of these people, in my opinion, on an island where either you're going to have great success or major failure.”

—Dwayne Crawford, executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives

Dwayne Crawford

These links are being provided as a convenience and for educational and informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Obama Foundation, and the Obama Foundation bears no responsibility for the accuracy or legality of the content of the external site or subsequent links from an external site.

An image of a large group of various people outdoors holding cardboard and paper signs that reads "Black Lives Matter" "Our fight Is Your Fight" and "Say Their Names"

Mayors: Commit to taking action to address police use of force policies in your city.

Mayors and other City Council officials are uniquely positioned to introduce common-sense limits on police use of force.

Take the Pledge