Input from affected communities is an essential component of the reform process aimed at remedying unconstitutional police practices. Yet, no court in DOJ-initiated police reform consent decree cases has ever granted a community organization’s motion to intervene as a matter of right. Judicial opinions in those cases have largely truncated the Federal Civil Rule 24 analysis when evaluating the interests of impacted communities. Thus, the most success achieved by a small few has been permissive intervention or amici status. The models used by the Department of Justice to elicit the community perspective have largely been frustrating and have failed to incorporate community voice with equal weight and authority in the process. This article identifies a uniform standard for courts to utilize in public law cases when community organizations seek intervention and proposes an alternative approach to the composition and structure of organization(s) so that the voices and input of those affected by police brutality are included in a meaningful way. The solution proposed by this Article involves applying an adequate representation analysis more suitable for the dynamic relationship between the federal government and marginalized communities. The right to intervene can be attained by those impacted by police violence while ensuring practical and representative concerns articulated by the judiciary in prior reform cases.


Police Reform, Federal Civil Rule 24, Impacted Communities, Consent Decrees

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109 Georgetown Law Journal 523 (2021)


COinS Ayesha Bell Hardaway Faculty Bio