Rebecca Stewart: 513-479-3335


Lawmakers Should Tell Police Chiefs to Halt Program that Will Bias Investigations, Worsen Wrongful Convictions, and Target Black Men

WASHINGTON / February 11, 2021 – The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is today calling on state lawmakers to urge the International Association of Chiefs of Police to promptly suspend a proposed program to promote so-called “victim-centered” investigations around the country (1). Such methods violate police ethics codes to conduct truthful and impartial investigations.

“Victim-centered” approaches, sometimes referred to as “trauma-informed,” are known to bias the conduct of police investigations, which contribute to one-third of all wrongful convictions (2).  A recent National Registry of Exonerations report documents five ways in which biased police investigations contribute to wrongful convictions (3):

  1. Concealment of evidence
  2. Fabrication of evidence
  3. Witness tampering
  4. Misconduct in interrogations, or
  5. Making false statements at trial

Such guilt-presuming investigations were found to target Black men. For murder cases, 78% of Black exonerees, compared to 64% of White exonerees, were victims of official misconduct. The misconduct disparity was even greater for drug crimes: 47% among Blacks and 22% for Whites, according to the National Registry of Exonerations (3).

A recent editorial describes victim-centered investigations as a “Pandora’s Box” because they place “emotional sympathy, prejudice, and ideologically driven agendas above cool-headed forensic and legal reasoning.” (4)

On January 28, 2021, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity sent a letter to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, calling on the group to suspend the project (5).  To date, the IACP has not acknowledged or provided a substantive response to the CPI letter.

The inter-related problems of police accountability, wrongful convictions, and racial bias have been repeatedly cited as top legislative priorities for 2021 (6,7,8).  Lawmakers are urged to tell the International Association of Chiefs of Police to suspend its unethical and harmful “victim-centered” program. Contact IACP Executive Director Vincent Talucci at , or telephone: 703-836-6767.