The People’s Hearing on Racism and Police Violence will take place on February 19th
and 20th from 9am to 5pm.
Each morning will start with a keynote speech, which will be followed by two
sessions of testimony.
Day 1 (Feb 19th) will feature the following two sessions:
-Police Killings (featuring testimony by people who’ve witnessed police killings as
well as family members of people killed by police)
Day 2 (Feb 20th) will feature the following two sessions:
-COINTELPRO and State Repression
-Organized Resistance to police violence
For further clarity, please note that for the purposes of this Tribunal Hearing we
are making distinctions between three different types of testimony.
The testimony types and distinctions are as follows:
1. Direct Victim’s testimony: someone sharing her or his direct experience with a
human rights violation at the hands of a government authority or institution.
2. Eye Witness testimony: someone sharing her or his direct experience witnessing a
human rights violation.
3. Expert Testimony:
a. Testimony which details the effects of human rights abuses (police
brutality, murder, etc.) on affected individuals and communities.
b. Testimony which details state frame-ups, cover-ups, suppression of
evidence, and systemic government repression.
c. Testimony which details the grassroots and organized resistance to racism,
sexism, homophobia, exploitation and state repression.
Organized Panels and Public Testimony
The fundamental purpose of the People’s Hearing on Racism and Police Violence is to
allow people’s experiences to speak for themselves. Organizers of the event hope
that it will facilitate space for those experiences to be exposed and explored.
The organized testimony panels will follow this format:
Each testimony will be 10 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes for questions and
answers from the jurors. At the end of each session, there will be at least 30
minutes allotted for questions and answers from the public.
People invited to give testimony have been asked to start from the following facts
of their experience, and are invited to expand far beyond these limitations (given
o Who (law enforcement agency, officers/officials involved, etc.),
o What (type of abuse, false arrest, illegal detention, gendered
o When (date and time), where (specific location)
o Why (reason provided by agency or official involved)
o How (manner in which abuse was executed)
People offering testimony are also asked to provide copies of any corroborating
evidence relating to their experience/testimony.
The program committee for the Hearing on Racism and Police Violence has invited
jurors to play a vital role at and after the event. The juror panels, made up of
lawyers and activists who have strong histories of involvement in supporting victims
of police harrassment, will play a variety of roles.
Jurors will hear all the testimony given during the event, and for each person who
speaks, there will be allotted time for the jurors to ask follow up questions, so
that each experience is fully described and can be strongly documented.
Beyond the Hearing
After the hearing, jurors are being asked to write summary opinions of the testimony
they heard and to produce their summary within three months of the Hearing.
The juror summaries and raw testimony will be used to advocate for Federal
intervention on the recommendations produced from the Hearing to address the human
rights violations raised and to press the demand that the Executive Branch adhere to
its obligations under the CERD Treaty and create a National Plan of Action to
Eliminate Racism and Racial Discrimination.
Additionally, the program committee along with the jurors will publish and
disseminate the findings of the Hearing to a mass domestic audience and to advocates
and experts in the international community.
Finally, Hearing organizers will submit the findings and opinions of the Hearing to
several international human rights monitoring bodies and institutions, including the
Inter-American Commission, the International Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, and several United Nations Special Rapporteurs.