Showing posts with label USDOJ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USDOJ. Show all posts

Thursday, March 09, 2023

NAACP Statement on DOJ Louisville Police Report

Following the release of a Department of Justice report finding a pattern of unconstitutional behavior by routinely using excessive force within the Louisville Metro Police Department, and the announcement of an investigation into the Memphis Police Department, NAACP President & CEO, Derrick Johnson released this statement:

"While Congress continues to fail our country with police reform, at least the Department of Justice is taking their jobs seriously. Today marks a meaningful step toward police accountability and — should Congress now decide to step up — police reform. The findings from their investigation into the Louisville Police Department provide clear evidence for what we've already known - we are dealing with a rotten tree, not a few bad apples. The NAACP applauds Attorney General Merrick Garland and the dedicated officials at the Department of Justice for continuing their pursuit of justice, and will remain committed to following the newly launched investigation into the Memphis Police Department. Congress should take a page from their book, do their jobs, and pass the legislation necessary to save innocent lives."


Following a comprehensive investigation, the Justice Department announced that the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) and the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government (Louisville Metro) engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law. The Department also announced that it has entered into an agreement in principle with Louisville Metro and LMPD, which have committed to resolving the department’s findings through a court-enforceable consent decree with an independent monitor, rather than contested litigation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

United States Reaches Agreement on Proposal with City of Jackson and State of Mississippi on Interim Solution to Jackson Water Crisis

The United States filed a proposal in federal court that — if approved by the court — would appoint an Interim Third Party Manager to stabilize the city of Jackson, Mississippi’s public drinking water system, and build confidence in the system’s ability to supply safe drinking water to the system’s customers. The city and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) have signed this order and agreed to its terms. At the same time, the Justice Department, on behalf of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed a complaint against the city alleging that the city has failed to provide drinking water that is reliably compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to the system’s customers. 

The proposal, which was called a “proposed stipulated order” in court filings, is meant to serve as an interim measure while the United States, the city, and MSDH attempt to negotiate a judicially enforceable consent decree to achieve long-term sustainability of the system and the city’s compliance with the SDWA and other relevant laws.  

“Today the Justice Department is taking action in federal court to address long-standing failures in the city of Jackson’s public drinking water system,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Department of Justice takes seriously its responsibility to keep the American people safe and to protect their civil rights. Together with our partners at EPA, we will continue to seek justice for the residents of Jackson, Mississippi. And we will continue to prioritize cases in the communities most burdened by environmental harm.”

“Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege to spend time with people on the ground in Jackson – many who’ve struggled with access to safe and reliable water for years," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I pledged that EPA would do everything in its power to ensure the people of Jackson have clean and dependable water, now and into the future. While there is much more work ahead, the Justice Department’s action marks a critical moment on the path to securing clean, safe water for Jackson residents. I’m grateful to the Attorney General for his partnership and commitment to this shared vision.”

“Every American — regardless of where they live, their income, or the color of their skin — deserves access to safe, reliable drinking water,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “For many years now, the people of Jackson have lived in uncertainty — uncertainty about whether, on any given day, the water that flows from their taps will be safe to drink. With our court filings today, we have taken an important step towards finally giving the people of Jackson the relief they so desperately deserve.”

“It is vital that providers of drinking water comply with federal and state laws designed to ensure the safety of the water,” said U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi. “Through this litigation, we will act to ensure that the city of Jackson’s water system will be compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act and other state and local regulations so that those serviced by the system can have confidence that the water they are consuming is safe. The proposed agreed interim order is a critical first step.” 

The proposal seeks the court’s appointment of an Interim Third Party Manager that would have the authority to, among other things:

  • Operate and maintain the city’s public drinking water system in compliance with SDWA, the Mississippi Safe Drinking Water Act, and related regulations;
  • Take charge of the Water Sewer Business Administration, the arm of the city responsible for billing water users;
  • Implement capital improvements to the city’s public drinking water system, in particular, a set of priority projects meant to improve the system’s near-term stability, including a winterization project meant to make the system less vulnerable to winter storms; and
  • Correct conditions within the city’s public drinking water system that present, or may present, an imminent and substantial endangerment to the health of the city’s residents. 

This court filing marks the latest efforts to address Jackson’s drinking water crisis, but there is much work still to be done to solve the myriad problems plaguing Jackson’s public drinking water system. On July 29, MSDH issued a boil-water notice for Jackson’s public drinking water system. The next month, the city proclaimed an emergency after excessive rainfall and extreme flooding prevented the system from delivering any water to the approximately 160,000 persons living within the city and in certain areas of nearby Hinds County who rely on the system. That meant that many of those residents had no running water to drink, or to use for basic hygiene and safety purposes like washing hands, showering, flushing toilets, fighting fires, or washing dishes. The water pressure was not restored until Sept. 6, and the boil-water notice remained in effect until Sept. 15.

Learn more information about EPA’s efforts in Jackson to date here.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Mississippi Man Charged with Federal Hate Crime for Cross Burning

The Justice Department announced that Axel C. Cox, 23, has been charged with hate crime and arson violations for burning a cross in his front yard to threaten, interfere with and intimidate a Black family in Gulfport, Mississippi.

According to court documents, Cox is charged with one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony. The indictment alleges that on Dec. 3, 2020, Cox threatened, intimidated and interfered with a Black family’s enjoyment of their housing rights. According to the indictment, Cox burned a cross in his front yard, and used threatening and racially derogatory remarks toward his Black neighbors. Cox allegedly chose to burn the cross because of the victims’ race.

If convicted, Cox faces up to 10 years in prison for interfering with the victims’ housing rights and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for using fire to commit a federal felony. Cox also faces a fine of up to $250,000 with respect to each charge.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby for the FBI Jackson Field Office made the announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Cabell Jones for the Southern District of Mississippi and Trial Attorney Noah Coakley II of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

Monday, December 06, 2021

U.S. Justice Department closes Emmett Till investigation with no new charges

The U.S. Justice Department told relatives of Emmett Till on Monday that it is ending its latest investigation into the 1955 lynching of the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.

Till’s family said it was disappointed by the news that there will continue to be no accountability for the infamous killing, with no charges being filed against Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman accused of lying about whether Till ever touched her.

“Today is a day we will never forget,” Till’s cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker, said during a news conference in Chicago. “For 66 years we have suffered pain. … I suffered tremendously.” The killing galvanized the civil rights movement after Till’s mother insisted on an open casket, and Jet magazine published photos of his brutalized body.

The Justice Department reopened the investigation after a 2017 book quoted Donham as saying she lied when she claimed that 14-year-old Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances while she was working in a store in the small community of Money. Relatives have publicly denied that Donham, who is in her 80s, recanted her allegations about Till.

Donham told the FBI that she had never recanted her accusations and there is “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she lied to the FBI,” the Justice Department said in a news release Monday. Officials also said that Timothy B. Tyson, the author of 2017’s “The Blood of Emmett Till” was unable to produce any recordings or transcripts in which Donham allegedly admitted to lying about her encounter with the teen.

“In closing this matter without prosecution, the government does not take the position that the state court testimony the woman gave in 1955 was truthful or accurate,” the news release said. “There remains considerable doubt as to the credibility of her version of events, which is contradicted by others who were with Till at the time, including the account of a living witness.” Days after Till was killed, his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, where it was tossed after being weighted down with a cotton gin fan.

The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act requires the Justice Department to make an annual report to Congress. No report was filed in 2020, but a report filed in June of 2021 indicated that the department was still investigating the abduction and killing of Till.

Friday, October 29, 2021

U.S. to pay millions to families, victims of Mother Emanuel AME massacre

The Department of Justice announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to settle the civil cases arising out of the June 2015 Mother Emanuel AME Church mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

These settlements will resolve claims by 14 plaintiffs arising out of the shooting. Plaintiffs agreed to settle claims alleging that the FBI was negligent when it failed to prohibit the sale of a gun by a licensed firearms dealer to the shooter, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, who wanted to start a “race war” and specifically targeted the 200-year-old historically African-American congregation. For those killed in the shooting, the settlements range from $6 million to $7.5 million per claimant. For the survivors, the settlements are for $5 million per claimant. 

The parties have been in litigation since 2016, including before the district court and the federal court of appeals.

“The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims.” 

“The nation grieved following the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel, and no one was more profoundly affected than the families of the victims and the survivors we have reached a settlement with today,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The department hopes that these settlements, combined with its prosecution of the shooter will bring some modicum of justice to the victims of this heinous act of hate.”

“The department is pleased to bring closure to this long-running litigation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “These settlement agreements represent another chapter in the justice system’s efforts to address this horrific event, following the government’s prosecution and conviction of the shooter for federal hate crimes.”

On June 17, 2015, Mother Emanuel congregants welcomed a stranger who had entered their church. They invited him to participate in their Wednesday night bible study. Tragically, at the close of the bible study, the young man they had welcomed killed nine people, including Mother Emanuel’s pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, also a South Carolina State Senator.

The families of the Emanuel Nine, as well as the five survivors who were inside the church at the time of the shooting, sued the government. They sought to recover for wrongful death and physical injuries arising from the shooting. Plaintiffs asserted that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) failed to timely discover that the shooter was a person prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm. Plaintiffs alleged that because of this delay, the shooter was able to purchase the handgun that he used to commit the atrocity.

The FBI and NICS play a crucial role in combatting gun violence. Since this tragic shooting, the FBI has worked to strengthen and improve the background check process. The department and FBI are also actively working to combat gun violence, which is a significant aspect of the department’s comprehensive violent crime reduction strategy. After the shooting, the department prosecuted the shooter for federal hate crimes and obtained a conviction.

Under applicable law, the court must approve the settlements for many of the plaintiffs. All parties expect that the court will agree that these settlements are fair and reasonable. This case was handled by the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Indiana man accused of burning cross in his yard faces federal hate crime charge

UPDATE 02/13/2021 Read more by clicking here: Indianapolis man pleads guilty to hate crime and unlawful possession of a firearm

The Justice Department announced today that Shepherd Hoehn, 50, has been charged by criminal complaint in federal district court with one count of violating 42 U.S.C. § 3631 for making threats to intimidate and interfere with his African-American neighbor because of the neighbor’s race and because of his use and enjoyment of his property, as well as two counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) for unlawfully possessing firearms.

According to documents filed in connection with the complaint, on June 18, 2020, a construction crew began working at the direction of Hoehn’s neighbor to remove a tree from the neighbor’s property. Upon learning of the tree removal, Hoehn became angry and took several steps to intimidate and interfere with his neighbor and the construction workers. Specifically, Hoehn placed and burned a cross above the fence line facing his neighbor’s property; created and displayed a swastika on the outer side of his fence, facing his neighbor’s property; created and displayed a large sign containing a variety of anti-Black racial slurs next to the swastika; visibly displayed a machete near the sign with the racial slurs; loudly played the song “Dixie” on repeat; and threw eggs at his neighbor’s house. On July 1, 2020, the FBI executed of a federal search warrant at Hoehn’s home. During the search, several firearms and drug paraphernalia were located. Agents also discovered that Hoehn was a fugitive from a case in Missouri and unable to lawfully possess firearms.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Hoehn faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the three charged offenses.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Lawrence Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Brad Shephard of the Southern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney Katherine DeVar of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Rep. Pressley, Senator Booker Lead Congressional Call for Federal Civil Rights Investigation into Ahmaud Arbery Murder

Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and more than 80 of their colleagues called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch a criminal civil rights investigation into the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and an independent investigation into local authorities’ handling of the case. The lawmakers have sent a letter to urge the DOJ to investigate these matters swiftly and thoroughly so that Mr. Arbery’s family can know the truth about what happened to their son.

Read that letter below:

The Honorable Eric S. Dreiband

US Department of Justice

Civil Rights Division

Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Main

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Mr. Dreiband,

We write to you today with grave concerns regarding the Ahmaud Arbery case in Glynn County, Georgia. As you know, Mr. Arbery, a 25-year old Black man, was harassed and brutally killed while out for a jog on February 23, 2020. In the days and weeks since his murder, and until very recently, Mr. Arbery’s family had been denied their calls for accountability in their son’s murder.

It is deeply disturbing that until the public release of a video recording depicting the heinous incident – a video that the prosecuting attorney’s office has had in its possession for months – no significant actions were taken to hold the men involved accountable. We are troubled by the length of time it took to not only arrest and charge Gregory and Travis McMichaels in this case, but by reports that have outlined disputes between Glynn County police officers present at the scene and the prosecuting attorney’s office — first assigned to District Attorney (DA) Jackie Johnson and later DA George E. Barnhill, both of whom have subsequently recused themselves due to prior professional relationships with the defendants. According to internal documents, and despite mounting evidence of the McMichaels’ culpability, Mr. Barnhill believed there was “insufficient probable cause” to issue arrest warrants to the McMichaels. This was later contradicted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, whom within days of taking over the case from local authorities, issued arrest warrants and charged the McMichaels with murder and aggravated assault. The dereliction of duty by Mr. Barnhill and Ms. Johnson’s offices, and agents involved in this case, must be independently investigated.

No mother or father should have to wait 74 days for known suspects involved in their son’s apparent murder to be taken off the street. Make no mistake, there cannot be true justice in this case, for in a just America, Mr. Arbery would still be alive. However, his family and this nation demand accountability for Mr. Arbery’s death. We are encouraged by the initial steps taken by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in this case and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s recent call for a federal investigation. The recent announcement by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia that they would begin assessing evidence of this crime is an encouraging step forward in a case where substantial actions have been delayed.

We strongly support the launch of a federal criminal civil rights investigation into the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Because Georgia does not have a law prohibiting or acknowledging bias-based crimes, the DOJ Civil Rights Division is uniquely suited to investigate whether or not the tragic death of Mr. Arbery was a hate crime, or another violation of federal civil rights law. There must be a fair and independent investigation into the handling of Mr. Arbery’s case to determine any constitutional violations by Glynn County District Attorney’s Office or Police Department.

The history of America lays bare the constant threat of systemic racism and white supremacy that continues to rob this nation of Black lives. Time and time again, this country has witnessed the absence of justice in cases from Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner to Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray. For generations, Black Americans have been forced to doubt the value of their own lives and that of their loved ones under a cloak of presumed guilt and brutality that have long infected their communities. Public outcry should not be the impetus for accountability in a society that promises equal justice for all. The need to rid our country of systemic racism and injustice must always be our guiding light.

DOJ must uphold its duty to conduct oversight of misconduct by law enforcement and local authorities and ensure that every community, particularly those communities where incidents like these occur with impunity, is protected from blatant dismissal and violations of their civil rights. We can and must hold accountable those involved in any wrongdoing. We urge you to swiftly and thoroughly conduct all necessary investigations. Mr. Arbery’s family, and the community that grieves with them, deserve the truth regarding Ahmaud’s tragic death.


In addition to Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Booker, the letter is also signed by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Bobby L. Rush (IL-01), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), André Carson (IN-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Joe Neguse (CO-02), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Al Green (TX-09), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Darren Soto (FL-09), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Cedric L. Richmond (LA-02), Frederica S. WIlson (FL-24), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Mike Doyle (PA-18), Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-04), Andy Levin (MI-09), Peter Welch (VT-00), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Karen Bass (CA-37), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-00) and Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), and Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR).

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Eric Garner's family responds to Justice Department decision to not charge cop who killed Garner

Eric Garner's daughter and mother react to the not so surprising news that the William Barr led Justice Department will not be bringing federal charges against a New York Police Department officer accused of fatally choking her dad in 2014.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Eric Holder: AG Barr not fit to run USDOJ

Former United States Attorney General, Eric Holder took to twitter to give reasons why current Attorney General William Barr is not fit to run the United States Justice Department.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, is disappointed by the decision by President Trump’s Department of Justice not to bring civil rights charges against the six Baltimore Police officers who were associated with the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. The NAACP, as well as its Maryland State Conference and Baltimore City Branch, issued the following statement:
“The Department of Justice let Freddie Gray’s family, Baltimore residents, and the entire nation down by deciding not to charge the police officers involved with Freddie Gray’s death. While we aren’t surprised by the DOJ’s decision – especially considering President Trump’s statement that police officers should not be ‘too nice’ when transporting those held in police custody – we had hoped that the case would have turned out differently,” said Ngozi Ndulue, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Programs at the NAACP. “The Justice Department had a real chance to demonstrate its commitment to police accountability. Instead, the DOJ’s decision reiterates what we already know—the threat of federal charges against individual officers is insufficient to ensure constitutional policing. Without meaningful avenues for police accountability, the status quo prevails; communities of color are vulnerable to civil rights violations from disreputable police officers with little repercussion.”
“The way the Justice Department is handling this case illustrates a deliberate weakening of civil rights enforcement under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This decision by the DOJ highlights the need for national, state and local policing reforms to ensure that officers are held accountable if they violate constitutional rights. The NAACP will continue to fight for this step forward and advocate for the anti-racial profiling bills for which we have long championed,” said Gerald Stansbury, President of the NAACP Maryland State Conference.
“The fact that we’re living in a country where the death of a young man can go unanswered is heartbreaking. Our tax dollars in Baltimore are supposed to ensure our law enforcement ‘protects and serves’ not ‘hunts and catches,’” said Tessa Hill-Aston, President of the Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP. “I have great respect for the Baltimore Police Department – and I know many of them personally – but I am disgusted by the actions taken by the individual police officers who were involved with Mr. Gray’s death and further outraged by the DOJ’s decision not to press charges against the accused officers. This case is part of a much bigger narrative about the value of Black lives and the willingness of our justice system to actually seek justice for Black families.”

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

NAACP denounces DOJ's plan to target Affirmative Action Programs


The NAACP, the country’s original and largest social justice organization denounces the U.S. Department of Justice’s plans to investigate and sue higher education institutions whose admission policies promote the inclusion of people of color. The NAACP issued the following statement.

Trump’s Justice Department seems laser-focused on achieving rights and privileges for ‘just-us’; totally excluding people of color. It’s not enough that President Trump proposes to radically cut the 2018 education budget and undermine public schools which would adversely affect African-Americans and his supporters alike, but now his Administration is preparing to investigate and prosecute colleges and universities that strive to admit more people of color.” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO. “Affirmative action was not created as a way for African-Americans, Latinos, or Asian-Americans to get an unfair advantage over their white peers. It’s a mechanism to level the playing field and create equal opportunity for people of color following decades of oppression. We should foster efforts to promote diversity on college and university campuses not hinder it.”

“The Supreme Court has ruled time and time again that affirmative action policies are consistent with our Constitution. For the Justice Department to even suggest otherwise is not only disrespectful to the highest court in the land, it’s un-American and plain ol’ nasty,” said Leon Russell, chairman of the NAACP board of directors. “Practices like investigating universities and colleges for affirmative action policies continue to demonstrate that President Trump is wholly disinterested in the prosperity of black people. The NAACP counts education as one of the essential elements African-Americans — and all Americans – need to achieve a healthy community. The Justice Department’s covert decision to make higher education more difficult for African-Americans to attain is underhanded and won’t be tolerated.”

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Sen. Cory Booker Statement on Department of Justice Review of Consent Decrees

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued the following statement after the Department of Justice announced a review of federal consent decrees with law enforcement agencies across the country:

“As mayor of Newark, I began as a skeptic of federal law enforcement consent decrees as we worked proactively to address long-standing issues with the Newark Police Department, working with the ACLU and residents to increase transparency and seek reforms. But I learned through my experience that these agreements can provoke meaningful changes in policing practices that improve public safety and fight crime while building trust between communities and police departments, ensuring fair enforcement of laws, and protecting civil rights. State and local police departments play a critical role in protecting our citizens and the vast majority of police officers do an incredible job in tough circumstances. Consent decrees, where necessary and properly constructed and implemented, can help keep officers and citizens safe, and improve life in the communities they serve.

“I’m deeply concerned that Attorney General Sessions’ announcement for a Department of Justice review of federal civil rights agreements with law enforcement would undermine the principle of equal justice for all Americans. I fear that this announcement paves the way for a retreat from accountability and oversight of allegations of systemic civil rights abuses. This would be a tremendous setback to both the efforts of our communities’ to fight crime and America’s ongoing commitment to fulfilling the promises of our Constitution. We need a Justice Department that takes seriously its charge to faithfully and vigorously enforce the nation’s civil rights laws and ensure that no one is above the law.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Feds revive probe of Eric Garner chokehold death

The feds have revived the grand jury probe into the NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner — and a police witness who was questioned in front of the panel believes an indictment is looming, sources told The New York Post on Thursday.

A high-ranking NYPD official and a sergeant testified behind closed doors in the Brooklyn federal courthouse on Wednesday after being slapped with subpoenas, sources said.

Revelation of their appearances before the grand jury marks the first sign that the US Justice Department hasn’t abandoned the racially charged case since the inauguration of President Trump and the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Read more: Feds revive probe of Eric Garner chokehold death

Friday, January 13, 2017

DOJ unveils police reforms in Baltimore

Nearly two years after Freddie Gray's death in police custody led to protests, Baltimore and the US Justice Department agreed to terms Thursday on sweeping police reforms that include cameras in all police transport vans.
The 227-page consent decree comes after the Justice Department monitored Baltimore's policing methods for more than a year after the 2015 death of Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while being transported in a police van.
    "We now require cameras in those vans," Mayor Catherine Pugh said.
    "We want to make sure that individuals are transported singularly and that they're strapped into those vans correctly and that people are not harmed in that process."
    But the troubled police department's problems went beyond its transport of prisoners.

    Read more: DOJ unveils police reforms in Baltimore

    Wednesday, July 06, 2016

    US Dept. of Justice investigating Alton Sterling shooting

    The U.S. Department of Justice is launching into a civil rights investigation regarding the fatal Baton Rouge police shooting of Alton Sterling at a convenience store early Tuesday morning.

    Federal officials will collect all the available facts and evidence related to the shooting in order to "conduct a fair, thorough and impartial investigation," FBI New Orleans division spokesman Craig Betbeze said Wednesday morning (July 6).

    Betbeze said the FBI was unable to comment further on the investigation due to its ongoing nature. Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said in a news statement that he supports the federal review of the shooting, calling the move "a very important decision taken to ensure that our community can have confidence" in the police department's commitment to transparency in fatal officer-involved shootings.


    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    Dylan Roof: Justice Dept. will seek death penalty

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch has released a statement that the Justice Department will be seeking the death penalty in the Dylan Roof case. Roof killed nine people inside a Charleston South Carolina church last year.

    Department of Justice
    Office of Public Affairs

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Statement on the Case of Dylann Roof

    Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch today released the following statement regarding the United States v. Dylann Roof:
    “Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty.  The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision.”
    Updated May 24, 2016

    Thursday, March 12, 2015

    Attorney General Holder Statement on the Overnight Shooting of Two Officers in Ferguson, Missouri

    Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Thursday on the overnight shooting of two officers in Ferguson, Missouri:

    “This heinous assault on two brave law enforcement officers was inexcusable and repugnant. I condemn violence against any public safety officials in the strongest terms, and the Department of Justice will never accept any threats or violence directed at those who serve and protect our communities—from this cowardly action, to the killing of an officer in Philadelphia last week while he was buying a game for his son, to the tragic loss of a Deputy U.S. Marshal in the line of duty in Louisiana earlier this week. Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months. We wish these injured officers a full and speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer any possible aid to an investigation into this incident, including the department's full range of investigative resources. And we will continue to stand unequivocally against all acts of violence against cops whenever and wherever they occur.”