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Penn Law on November 30, 2020. Credit: Max Mester

Penn Law’s Quattrone Center issued several recommendations to the Madison Police Department about responding to protests following the murder of George Floyd. 

The review, released on Nov. 17, urged the creation of community dialogue representatives and the end of officers placing knees on individuals’ heads or necks. Researchers assessed the Madison Police Department's response to George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020 to improve the department's response to future protests, Penn Law reported. The review created 69 recommendations based on insight from community stakeholders and representatives of the Madison Police Department. 

The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice is a national research and policy hub that is part of Penn’s Law School and aims to produce long-term structural improvements to the U.S. criminal justice system. 

The review examined protests that took place in Madison, Wisconsin from May 30 to Aug. 25, 2020, Penn Law reported. Community stakeholders who conducted the review included members of the community from various backgrounds and law enforcement officers.

Together, the stakeholders reviewed a variety of sources given to the Quattrone Center by the Madison Police Department. Resources included approximately 1,600 pages of protest-related documents, more than 625 hours of closed-circuit television, more than 30 hours of radio transmissions, and contact with several of the officers who participated in the protests. The law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP also provided thousands of pro bono hours to ensure the data was assessed methodically.

The review also included testimony from more than 50 interviews with department officers, statements from 140 Madison community members, and examined information publicly available online.

The final review includes a thorough account of the summer's events and 14 “critical incidents” that occurred during the George Floyd protests, including specific times that police officers interacted with protestors. For each critical incident, the report provides an analysis, a breakdown of the identified contributing factors, and recommendations for the Madison Police Department to implement in future protests. 

Key recommendations in the review include creating community dialogue representatives who can improve communication on behalf of protestors during protests and publicizing procedures for handcuffing. The review also recommends that police officers avoid placing knees on the head, neck, or C-spine of individuals. 

The Quattrone Center was previously involved in an independent review of Penn’s Division of Public Safety that was released in April and recommended an overhaul of Penn Police.

“The Quattrone [review] process was extremely valuable in bringing members of the department together with members of the community to talk about difficult and challenging topics,” Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes told Penn Law.