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October 09, 2023

Deaths in Custody: A National Crisis

Throughout the nation, people of color will experience a negative encounter with law enforcement at a rate that is disproportionate to their white counterparts. Whether from a minor infraction, a traffic stop, pre-trial detention, incarceration, or any number of circumstances that arise, encounters with law enforcement by Black and Brown people all too often turns into a death sentence. There is a lack of uniformity with in-custody death investigations, completion of death certificates, collection of public health information, data analysis, and implementation of corrective actions. This webinar will provide a pathway to solutions initiated with the Deaths In Custody Reporting Act of 2013 (H.R. 1447) and more, while exposing and exploring the various entities — policing systems, medical examiners, prosecutors, judges, legislators, federal agencies, and more — who have helped to perpetuate the current deaths in custody crisis.



  • Dr. Roger Mitchell, Jr. – Forensic Pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner, Washington, D.C.; Chair of the Department of Pathology, Howard University
  • Congressman Robert ‘Bobby’ Scott – Congressman representing Virginia’s 3rd congressional district, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Tanya Clay House – Executive Vice President for Campaigns and Advocacy, Hip Hop Caucus and the Hip Hop Caucus Action Fund; CEO and Co-Founder, ClayHouse Consulting Inc.


  • Juan R. Thomas – Immediate Past Chair, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice; Of Counsel, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.

Co-Sponsors: ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Racial Ethnic Diversity in Profession, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Criminal Justice Section, ABA Division for Public Education


Failure to report deaths in custody impedes study of trends

Death in Custody: How America Ignores the Truth and What We Can Do About It | Roger A. Mitchell Jr, MD and Jay D. Aronson, PhD

Official Ignorance: The Death in Custody Podcast

Autopsy Initiative: Free Autopsies for Police-Related Deaths | Know Your Rights Camp

REPORT Reducing Deaths in Law Enforcement Custody: Identifying High-Priority Needs for the Criminal Justice System

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