Data 4 Black Lives: Workshop

On Saturday, Jan. 12th, we co-coordinated a workshop at the 2nd annual Data 4 Black Lives conference, entitled FOIA/Public Records and Law Enforcement Accountability.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and equivalent state public record laws are a cornerstone of American democracy – and yet the process of making the law work requires real thought and effort, inside and outside government. Together with the ACLU of Massachusetts, we’ll learn from experts, journalists, and activists about strategies and techniques for getting public records from government that can be used for accountability. Our presenters will showcase examples of public records being used to expose and combat surveillance, targeted and biased policing, and police use of force.

In addition to Houston Institute staff, the workshop presenters were:

After presentations on these initiatives, the workshop featured Q&A overviews of the nuts and bolts of public records requests and best practices for building digital and/or public platforms for law enforcement data.

Background Materials

Invisible Institute | The Citizens Police Data Project (CPDP)

Lucy Parsons Labs | Intro to FOIA Requests

The Force Report | Coverage, Searchable Database, and Data Visualizations


Massachusetts ACLU

Houston Institute

Conference Presentations

We split the consolidated slide deck from all of our presenters into two parts and compressed all images so the file viewer could accommodate the large file size. To download the entire conference presentation at original resolution, click here (29.3 MB).

Please note: a number of slides have active links – click through to check out the original content!

Part 1

Part 2

Additional Resources