Launched in 2019

Historical Injustices and Present Policing Project

Based at Northeastern University, HIPP is a collaboration among five affiliates. HIPP’s teaching and training materials are drawn from cases we have investigated. HIPP aims to generate deeper awareness of the dynamics and legacy of historical racial violence to promote trust between law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve.

HIPP materials include a detailed outline for instructors, a slide presentation for use in classroom instruction, and a comprehensive toolkit that provides additional context and case studies. The materials cover the following topics: 

  • Historical racial violence and the role of law enforcement, including historical case studies and more recent examples;
  • Intergenerational trauma, collective memory, and the impact of this history on police-community relations today; and
  • Restorative justice: how police departments and individual officers can take actionable steps to acknowledge and redress the ongoing legacies of this history.

Image above: Tom Jones Jr., Willie Lee Davis, Hilliard Brooks, Royal Cyril Brooks, Prentiss McCann, Willie B. Carlisle, Timothy Hood, Allen Bruce Foster, Henry “Peg” Gilbert, Ellis Hutson Sr., James Earl Motley, Samuel Mason Bacon, Jessie James Shelby, Chrispon Charles Jr., and Sam Terry. All lost their lives in law enforcement encounters during the Jim Crow era.


Pilot Project in Cambridge, MA:

In 2020, Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr. invited HIPP to offer our training materials as part of the Department’s annual in-service mandatory training. HIPP delivered the training to nine groups of officers in the Department. HIPP also presented the training to new recruits at the Cambridge/Northeastern Police Academy in Spring 2020.

Of our training program, Commissioner Bard observed that the HIPP Project featured “comprehensive, fact-based research about this history,” and helped officers “develop a deep understanding of the continuing legacy of historical racial violence.”

The HIPP Project is a partnership of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law, the Institute on Race and Justice at the College of Criminal Justice, the George Lewis Ruffin Society, NULab for Texts Maps and Networks, and NuLawLab. The HIPP project is supported by a Northeastern University Tier 1 grant and a grant from the Ford Foundation.

A national board of police and community leaders advises HIPP. HIPP’s Principal Investigators are Margaret Burnham, University Distinguished Professor (Law and Africana Studies); Roderick Ireland, Distinguished Professor (Criminal Justice) and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, (ret.); Jack McDevitt, Professor of the Practice (Criminal Justice); and Moya Bailey, Assistant Professor (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies).

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