FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 16, 2020
NGOs and Law Enforcement Whistleblowers Propose Whistleblower Rights for Police Reform
WASHINGTON – Today 28 NGOs and 10 law enforcement whistleblowers sent letters to Congress requesting whistleblower protection in legislation for police reform. The signees included prominent law enforcement whistleblowers Frank Serpico and Matthew Fogg who, in retaliation for their whistleblowing on corruption and racism, were left for dead by their colleagues. Last week Congressional Democrats proposed sweeping police reform legislation including banning chokeholds, mandating body cameras, and setting up a police misconduct registry. Soon after the proposal, Congressional Republicans announced that they may take similar steps. However the “blue wall of silence” culture in the police force has made it a lonely, dangerous struggle for those exercising free speech rights to hold fellow officers and leaders accountable. Law enforcement whistleblowers don’t just risk their careers, but like Serpico, Fogg, and many others, they may also find their lives at risk. The objective of the letters is to ensure that congress passes police reform legislation that is enforceable – which would not be possible without anti-retaliation rights for witnesses within the police force.
Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine commented,
Following the recent murders, public trust in the police system is at an all-time low. Thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to vocalize their pain, anguish, and deep frustration with continued police brutality in the US. These pioneer whistleblowers risked their careers, their physical safety, and even their lives to defend the public against law enforcement abuses. New reforms will not work without these whistleblowers because their testimony will be key to ensuring that the rights on paper make a difference in reality. The credibility of reforms will be dependent on whether Congress protects those who bear witness to enforce them.
Contact: Andrew Harman, Director of Communications
Phone: (202) 457-0034 x156
Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.