Police Brutality Bonds - Action Center on Race and the Economy

How Wall Street Profits from Police Violence

Read the report on our groundbreaking research of the link between finance and police violence and then sign on our petition against police brutality bonds.

In the report you can find specific case studies from:

UPDATE: Read our letter to investors in one of Chicago’s police brutality bonds (September 2019)

What are police brutality bonds?

As the costs of police misconduct rise, cities and counties across the United States are going into debt to pay for it. Often this debt is in the form of bond borrowing. When cities or counties issue bonds to pay these costs, banks and other firms collect fees for the services they provide, and investors collect interest. The use of bonds to pay for settlements and judgments greatly increases the burden of policing costs on taxpayers, while producing a profit for banks and investors. Using bonds to pay for settlements or judgments can nearly double the costs of the original settlement. All of this is paid for by taxpayers.

These police brutality bonds quite literally allow banks and wealthy investors to profit from police violence. This is a transfer of wealth from communities–especially over-policed communities of color–to Wall Street and wealthy investors, and it needs to stop.

Our Recommendations

We need to abolish this system of policing and build a justice system that prioritizes the needs and well-being of all people. While we collectively work toward that, here are our key recommendations: 

1. If cities must borrow to pay for settlements and judgments, banks and investors should not be allowed to profit from that.

2. Police officers must be forced to take out individual liability insurance policies to cover the costs of settlements and judgments caused by their misconduct.

3. Governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal levels must account for and provide full transparency about which officers are behaving in ways that lead to settlements and judgments, how they are or are not being held accountable, who is paying for their misconduct and how, and who is profiting from these payments.

Police Brutality Bonds Inquiries

Contact us with questions about the report by filling out the form below: