Andrea J. Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant police misconduct attorney and organizer whose writing, litigation, and advocacy has focused on policing and criminalization of women and LGBT people of color for the past two decades. She is currently Researcher in Residence on Race, Gender, Sexuality and Criminalization at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, where she recently launched the Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action initiative. She is the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color (Beacon Press 2017), Say Her Name: What it Means to Center Black Women’s Experiences of Police Violence in Who Do You Serve? Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States (Haymarket Press 2016), Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBT Youth, YMSM and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex (Urban Institute 2015) and Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color, in The Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology (South End Press 2006); co-author of Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women (AAPF 2015); A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV (2014); and Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (Beacon Press 2011), and has published numerous articles, policy reports and research studies.
She is a nationally recognized expert and sought after commentator on policing issues, and works with groups across the country to support campaigns to end profiling, police violence criminalization, mass incarceration, and deportation. She has testified before the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the Prison Rape Elimination Commission, and a number of United Nations treaty bodies. She is a member of the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, and was a founding member of the Steering Committee of New York City's Communities United for Police Reform, a city-wide campaign to challenge discriminatory, unlawful and abusive policing practices in New York City led by grassroots community groups, legal organizations, policy advocates and researchers from all five boroughs. She was appointed to the New York City Council Young Women's Initiative in 2015, where she co-chaired the Anti-Violence and Criminalization Working Group. She was a 2014 Senior Soros Justice fellow, a founder of the National LGBT HIV Criminal Justice Working Group and chair of its policing subgroup. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Invisible Institute. Her articles and opinion pieces have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Essence, the Guardian, the Root, the Lily, Rewire, Think Progress, and TruthOUT, and she regularly appears in national media outlets, including HBO, BET, MSNBC, and NPR.
Ritchie has taught classes on Policing; Race, Gender, and Punishment; Black Feminism; Social Justice; and Human Rights at American University, Northeastern Law School, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Ritchie was lead counsel in Tikkun v. City of New York, ground-breaking impact litigation challenging unlawful searches of transgender people in police custody, and drafted and negotiated sweeping changes to the NYPD’s policies for interactions with LGBTQ New Yorkers, and has since supported organizations and law enforcement agencies across the country in developing policies around police interactions with women and LGBTQ people. She also served as co-counsel to the Center for Constitutional Rights in Doe v. Jindal, a successful challenge to Louisiana’s requirement that individuals convicted of “crime against nature by solicitation” register as sex offenders, and Doe v. Caldwell, the class action filed to remove all affected individuals from the registry, resulting in relief for over 800 class members. In Adkins v. City of New York, she secured a groundbreaking ruling that law enforcement discrimination against transgender people is subject to heightened constitutional scrutiny. In addition to impact litigation, she maintained a small practice focused on challenging police profiling and brutality against women and LGBTQ people of color in New York City for 15 years.
As a member of the national collective of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence from 2003 – 2008, she served on the editorial collective for the Color of Violence Anthology, and coordinated the development of the INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence Organizer’s Toolkit on Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color and Transgender People of Color.
Ritchie was also a primary author of In the Shadows of the War on Terror: Persistent Police Brutality and Abuse in the United States, a “shadow report” submitted on behalf of over 100 national and local organizations and individuals to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Additionally, as a consultant to the U.S. Human Rights Network, she coordinated the participation of over 200 local, state and national organizations in the 2008 review of the U.S. government’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
She also served as expert consultant, lead researcher and coauthor for Amnesty International’s 2005 report Stonewalled: Police Abuse and Misconduct Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in the United States, was a consultant for Caught in the Net, a report on women and the “war on drugs” published by the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Break the Chains, and co-author of Education Not Deportation: Impacts of New York City School Safety Policies on Immigrant Youth, published by Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM).
She is a proud graduate of Howard University School of Law and had the privilege of clerking for the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.