According to a Know Your Rights release, the initiative will collaborate with a panel of board-certified medical examiners and pathologists who perform autopsies, disclose preliminary findings, and issue final reports to families.
The initiative is an effort to eliminate concerns regarding initial autopsies, potential police and local government interference, manipulation of evidence, and potential bias on behalf of the medical examiner.
“We know that the prison industrial complex, which includes police and policing, strives to protect and serve its interests at all costs,” Kaepernick said in a statement.
“The Autopsy Initiative is one important step toward ensuring that family members have access to accurate and forensically verifiable information about the cause of death of their loved one in their time of need.”
According to the release, police-related deaths are not solely limited to acts by police officers but by various law enforcement agents including sheriffs, correctional officers, state troopers, highway patrol officers, ICE, border patrol, and other law enforcement agents.
Additionally, the release states that a request for an autopsy can be made by anyone with a close relationship with the victim including a spouse, partner, close friend, relative, or lawyer, but only the legal representative of the victim can legally authorize an autopsy.
The group of board-certified pathologists for the Know Your Rights Campaign includes Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist, author, and lecturer who worked in Allegheny County as its elected coroner for 20 years. Wecht has performed more than 20,000 autopsies and has consulted on 40,000 additional post-mortem examinations.
The former signal-caller has also teamed up with screenwriter, director, and filmmaker Spike Lee for a documentary on his anthem protest and the backlash he received from the NFL and white America.
According to the Washington Post, police officers across the country shot and killed more than 1,000 people last year despite the defund the police movement cutting police budgets across the country and cops dying at an unprecedented rate due to officers’ reluctance to get vaccinated against COVID-19.