Campaign Zero

Amid a bubbling political "fight for the soul of Black Lives Matter," as Deadspin put it, four prominent activists have released an unprecedented policy agenda for how to "end police violence in America."

The new agenda, called Campaign Zero, was released on Friday morning by prominent activists Deray Mckesson, Johnetta "Netta" Elzie, Samuel Sinyangwe, and Brittany Packnett. In the proposal, specific policy agendas are laid out along the federal, state and local levels.


The group's recommendations for police reform include 10 specific plans of action on ending "broken windows policing," expanding community oversight over police departments, and provisions that would change police unions—which the group says "make it difficult for Police Chiefs or civilian oversight structures to punish police officers who are unfit to serve."

Campaign Zero/ Lauren Dorman

The detailed agenda marks a turning point for the movement against police brutality that began with the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson Mo. last August. Many groups and activists have united under the goal of ending police violence, especially against people of color. But many—the most prominent of which is the organization Black Lives Matter, which is related but not synonymous with the hashtag—have been criticized as lacking a precise agenda that policymakers can wrap their heads around.


“In politics, if you can’t explain it and you can’t sell it, it stays on the shelf,” presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton told Black Lives Matter activists in a private meeting last week, pleading them to put together a comprehensive policy agenda.“You’re going to have to come together as a movement and say ‘here’s what we want done about it.’ Because you can get lip service from as many White House people as you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it, who are going to say, ‘Oh, we get it. We get it. We’re going to be nicer’ — that’s not enough.”

Campaign Zero is not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter organization. And notably, some of the people behind it have recently found themselves at odds with some members of the organization, particularly after McKesson got Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to agree to meet with him on Twitter. Only a week before that, Black Lives Matter protesters shut Sanders down at a Seattle gathering.


Core to Campaign Zero's agenda is passing legislation at all levels that would scale back the interactions that police have with the public, both in terms of force and frequency.

At the federal level, for instance, the agenda calls for the end of federal marijuana prohibition, enforcement of which disproportionately affects people of color. It also calls for the establishment of a "national use of force standard that requires police officers use the least amount of force necessary and permits use of lethal force only in situations where there is an imminent threat to a life," among other things.

In addition to the comprehensive policy, Campaign Zero's newly unveiled site ranks presidential candidates, based on whether they have publicly addressed the group's ten different points of action.


Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is the only Republican candidate who has proposed a solution to any of the group's demands, according to the group. Paul has called for a reform of civil forfeiture laws, which allow local and federal law enforcement officials to seize private property, often without convicting or even formally accusing the property owner of a crime. Neither former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, real estate mogul Donald Trump, nor any of the only other GOP candidates tracked by the group have made any concrete proposals on the group's points of action.

On the Democratic side, however, former Maryland Governor Martin O' Malley, former secretary of state Clinton, and Vermont Senator Sanders stack up better. Clinton has made two welcomed proposals, according to the group (mandatory body cameras, and banning local police departments from using federal funds to purchase military equipment).

O'Malley has made seven of the group's ten proposals for policy changes, and Sanders has made a total of eight, making him most in line with the group's calls for reform.


The agenda is not not finalized, the group notes on its website, and it is open to criticism and to submissions.

"There's no 'one thing' that will end police violence," wrote McKesson on Twitter. "It's important to us that we continue to get feedback."

Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.