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Created Oct 29, 2014
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Ideas for new laws

These are ideas that came up during reading articles and discussions about the recent happenings in Ferguson.

New Laws

  1. All police officers shall have their names clearly displayed at all times while in uniform. Violation shall be a felony of impersonating a police officer. The names must be in a legible font, at least 30 points in size.

  2. All police officers shall wear video recording devices. These recordings shall be encrypted, and available only via court order or subpoena. If the recordings for a case are found to be missing or manipulated, this shall be pro facia evidence of police misconduct.

  3. Names of police officers involved in controversial cases shall (only) be released upon filing of a formal written FOI request.

  4. Damages and injuries caused by SWAT or other police raids that find no substantial contraband specifically listed in the warrant shall be compensated at 3 times the fair value.

  5. SWAT and paramilitary police forces shall not be deployed against nor threaten citizens demonstrating their First Amendment rights.

  6. A SWAT or paramilitary police force member pointing a weapon at a citizen demonstrating his or her First Amendment rights shall be deemed to be violating the felony of threatening assault with a deadly weapon.

  7. Detailed descriptions of each use of SWAT or paramiliatary police forces shall be made available within 10 days after such use. Failure to do so will result in pro facia evidence of police misconduct. Detailed statistics, including the race of the targets of such forces, shall be released yearly. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the use of SWAT and paramilitary equipment.

  8. Police shall not wear masks to obscure their identity while on duty. If gas masks are necessary, they shall not be worn until necessary.

  9. St. Louis County shall disband all city police forces within its borders. All municipal and local police powers in St. Louis County shall be vested in the county itself. (This shall not have any effect on state police powers.)

  10. Anyone who commits a homicide (whether justified or not) shall be arrested, arraigned, and subject to a grand jury hearing. This will ensure justice, by ensuring due process for claims of justified force. (from

  11. A county or municipal police department may not investigate the crimes of one of its own officers. The state police must be notified immediately, and begin an investigation as soon as possible. Not notifying the state police shall be considered prima facia evidence of obstruction of justice by the (acting) police chief. (Shaun King)

  12. A special prosecutor shall be appointed for any felony case against a police officer or government official. This will ensure that people believe that justice will be carried out in an impartial manner.

  13. A prosecutor will be recused from a case if 1% of the voters in the county sign a petition asking for him to be recused. In such a case, a special prosecutor shall be appointed. (If people say you should recuse yourself, then you should.)

  14. A police officer shall not threaten harm to a citizen. Being a police officer shall not be a valid defense for threats of harm against citizens.

  15. Police shall not ban, confiscate, or destroy citizens' cameras or other recording devices. Doing so shall be a felony. In any case of police misconduct where a camera or recording device has been confiscated or destroyed, it shall be pro facia evidence of police misconduct. (adapted from

  16. Fines collected by counties and municipalities shall go to the state general funds. They shall not be used as general revenue for the counties and municipalities. Court costs shall pay for the costs incurred running the court. They shall not be used as general revenue for the counties and municipalities. (This will ensure that municipalities aren't incentivized to issue citations or warrants in order to generate revenue, so they can concentrate on public safety instead.)

  17. Suspensions of police for violations of any serious offenses should be UNPAID. If a third party review board clears the officer, the back pay, which could sit in escrow could be given back to the officer. If found guilty, the money in escrow should be given to victims of police violence. (Shaun King)

  18. ??? Something to prevent judges from being prosecutors. (

  19. Fix this: "By statute, the St. Louis County Public Defender’s Office is prohibited from representing indigent defendants in municipal courts." (

  20. All notices to appear should make it clear that failure to appear will result in a warrant and jail, but showing up will not send you to jail, even if you can't pay immediately. (Frank Vatterott from

Potential Allies

  • ArchCity Defenders
  • Frank Vatterott
  • Javad Khazaeli and James Wyrsch, of Khazaeli Wyrsch law firm
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