This conversation, led by Niskanen senior fellow Michael Fortner, examines the all-too-common phenomenon of “homicide impunity,” where violence in communities goes unaddressed. Panelists discuss the impact these unsolved homicides have on families and communities. They also examine how police can improve clearance rates for homicides and non-fatal shootings and promote cooperation with the communities most affected by violent crime.


Wesley Lowery is a correspondent at CBS News and a contributing editor at the Marshall Project. He was previously a national justice correspondent for the Washington Post, where he led the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for creating the first database of fatal police shootings. He subsequently worked on the Post series “Murder With Impunity,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. 

Roxanna Altholz is a clinical professor of law at Berkeley. She is an international human rights lawyer and scholar who has won several ground-breaking judgments from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; provided expert testimony before UN human rights groups; and initiated legal actions on behalf of human rights victims in U.S. federal courts. She is the author of the 2020 report “Living with Impunity: Unsolved Murders in Oakland and the Human Rights Impact on Victims’ Family Members.”

Lisa Miller is a professor of political science at Rutgers University and the author of The Myth of Mob Rule: Violent Crime and Democratic Politics and The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty, and the Politics of Crime Control, as well as  scholarly articles on criminology, federalism, and constitutional politics. Her commentary has been published in the New York Times and the Guardian, among other outlets.

Jeff Asher is a nationally recognized data analyst with expertise in evaluating criminal justice data. He is the co-founder of AH Datalytics, a firm that consults nonprofit and government clients. Jeff has previously worked for the CIA, the Defense Department, and the New Orleans Police Department, and his commentary appears regularly in major news outlets.

Michael Fortner is an associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He received a BA in political science and African American studies from Emory University and a PhD in government and social policy from Harvard University. His work studies the intersection of American public policy and political philosophy—particularly in the areas of race, ethnicity, and class. He is the author of Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment (Harvard University Press, 2015), a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and winner of the New York Academy of History’s Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in New York History.