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A Year in Review: Fatal State Violence Project

One year ago, we launched the Fatal State Violence Project in solidarity with families who have had loved ones killed by police or die in jail. In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., and ACD’s commitment to speaking truth to power, we held an interactive webinar in which ACD staff and impacted family and community members talked about the project and reviewed the key findings in our policy report, “Death by the State: The State of Fatal State Violence in St. Louis.” 

Since the project’s launch, ACD has demonstrated our commitment to combating state violence through our holistic legal advocacy model in several ways:

Continued litigating cases of Fatal State Violence such as for Louis “Lyen” Payton.

Researching and identifying people killed by police in the region and people who have died in jail custody.

Launched our partner campaign, Defund. Re-envision. Transform., a grassroots campaign which seeks to defund SLMPD, re-envision public safety, and transform St. Louis.

Filing “Sunshine” records requests in order to help surviving families obtain vital information related to their loved one’s death.

Held a public vigil to memorialize the victims of Fatal State Violence identified in our policy report.

Filed a lawsuit, held a press conference, and organized a community vigil and a town hall on behalf of the family of Don Clark, raise awareness about his wrongful death and to build community power behind our case to end “No Knock” Warrants.

Expanded the Fatal State Violence Project staff to include our new Project Co-Lead, Brittney Watkins.

Launched the Fatal State Violence Response Program in partnership with Faith For Justice in October 2021 with our inaugural cohort of first responders whose work is to connect with communities of survivors to provide ongoing social support and hold space for healing practices.

Began partnership with Roadblocks to Police Accountability, which provides access to our database of FSV incident reports and research to support this journalistic project.

Attended speaking engagements locally and nationally with impacted families spreading awareness about ACD’s model and enlisting additional support.

These are just some of the major ways our project has evolved over the past year, and still, there is plenty of work to be done. We’re grateful for the support of our staff, partners, volunteers, and impacted community in achieving these milestones in the first year of the project’s existence. This MLK Day, we honor Dr. King’s legacy and St. Louis’s own fallen victims, as his words continue to inspire this critical work. We can never be satisfied until justice is a reality for all.