On June 10, 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the appointment of NYU Law Professor Barry Friedman as a special advisor to guide and support her investigation into recent interactions between the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and individuals engaging in protests across the city.

Police Officers at New York protests
Police officers at New York protests

Friedman’s appointment was announced with former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch who also will serve as a special advisor.

The announcement comes on the heels of protests across the country following George Floyd’s killing by a police officer and violent clashes between police officers and protesters. The NYPD is among several departments across the country facing scrutiny for its response to protests.

“My work is dedicated to promoting public safety through transparency, equity, and democratic engagement,” said Friedman, the founder and faculty director of the Policing Project at NYU Law, in a statement. “We know that our communities are best served and protected when all stakeholders have a seat at the table, not just those in power. It’s clear New York is ready for an in-depth look at our policing policies, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with Attorney General James on this investigation.”

Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman

Established in 2015, the Policing Project engages with communities and policing agencies to promote just and effective policing, democratic accountability, and equity, with a particular focus on racial justice. 

The Policing Project’s prior work includes a collaboration with the Camden County Police Department on their progressive use of force policy—cited by Chief Joseph Wysocki in explaining his recent decision to march alongside protesters—and the launch of the Neighborhood Policing Initiative in Chicago, which aims to transform the way the Chicago Police Department engages with community members, particularly in communities of color most affected by policing. Following troubling reports of discriminatory enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Policing Project also issued guidance for law enforcement and municipal officials on fairly and effectively enforcing social distancing and related orders while protecting individual civil liberties.