Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks on the Ferguson Travesty

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

 Hello All:

Attorney General Eric Holder recently released this information in reference to the recent decision in Ferguson to not indict Darren Wilson for cold blooded murder of an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, and the violent response on the part of the residents of Ferguson.  

I'm posting it here so that you can be apprised of the efforts being made on the Attorney General's and the President's part to ensure that, going forward, there were be a serious reduction in police brutality and unwarranted (and unpunished) police shootings.  Of course, the key question on most people's lips is will the Attorney General try this as a civil rights or wrongful death; and will there be an investigation of the members of the Ferguson grand jury?

On Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 6:19 PM, Attorney General Eric Holder <info@mail.whitehouse.gov> wrote:

The White House, Washington
Following Michael Brown's tragic death, millions of people across the nation and around the world have focused their attention on unfolding events in Ferguson, both grieving together and making their voices heard.
In recent days, many have been captivated by ongoing developments, anguished emotions, peaceful protests -- and, too often, deeply unfortunate images of unnecessary destruction. And this tragic incident has sparked a necessary, national conversation about the need to ensure trust and build strong relationships between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve.
Events in Ferguson have revealed a deep distrust between a community and its police force. But this reality is not limited to one location. Other communities around this country know this struggle all too well. And it's abundantly clear that every single one of us has a role to play in tackling this problem together, as a nation -- to identify those things that bind us, and to be honest with one another about the things that continue to divide us.
In August, President Obama ordered a review of federal funding and programs that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. Yesterday, the Administration released that review's findings -- and announced key next steps to strengthen the trust in and effectiveness of the policing of our communities.
Learn more about yesterday's announcements, and the findings of the Administration's review.
Here are the next steps we're taking:
  1. Creating a new task force to promote the expansion of 21st century community-oriented policing.
  2. Reforming how the federal government equips local law enforcement, particularly with military-style equipment.
  3. Advancing the use of body-worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives.
I know this has been a difficult time for people in Ferguson, and for many others across the country. It will take time for things to get better. But as I assured Ferguson residents during my visit there, in August, the Obama administration is firmly committed to making the progress we need -- and that all of our citizens deserve.
The changes that the President announced yesterday are exactly the sorts of programmatic steps that will bring the right people together to engage in a constructive, national conversation -- so we can build trust, address persistent concerns, and protect public safety while respecting the rights of every American.
Last Tuesday, addressing the public, the President said, "[to] those who are prepared to work constructively, your President will work with you." I am committed to answering the President's call to see this through -- as are the men and women of the United States Department of Justice.
Learn more about yesterday's announcements here -- and spread the word to anyone who wants to know how we're moving forward as a nation.
Thank you,
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
This email was sent to gloriadulanwilson@gmail.com.
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Building Trust Between Communities and Local Police

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country have grabbed the attention of the nation and the world, and have highlighted the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities that they protect.
Today, the Administration announced new steps we’re taking to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are obligated to protect and serve, including:
  • Advancing the use of body worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives
  • Creating a new task force to promote expansion of the community-oriented policing model, which encourages strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities that they serve as a proven method of fighting crime
  • Reforming how the federal government equips state and local law enforcement – particularly with military-style equipment
Get more details about these new actions below.

Increasing the use of body worn cameras, and improving community policing

The President has proposed a three-year, $263 million investment package that will:
  • Increase police officers’ use of body worn cameras
  • Expand training for law enforcement agencies (LEAs)
  • Add more resources for police department reform
  • Multiply the number of cities where the Department of Justice facilitates community and local LEA engagement
Part of the proposal is a new Body Worn Camera Partnership Program, which would provide a 50 percent match to states and localities that purchase body worn cameras and requisite storage. In fact, the proposed $75 million, three-year investment could help purchase 50,000 body worn cameras.
As noted in a recent report released by Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), evidence shows that body worn cameras help strengthen accountability and transparency, and that officers and civilians both act in a more positive manner when they're aware that a camera is present. 

President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with elected officials, community and faith leaders, and law enforcement officials on community policing 
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with elected officials, community and faith leaders, and law enforcement officials to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Building public trust while keeping crime rates down

The President is planning to create a Task Force on 21st Century Policing, chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who also serves as President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association; and Laurie Robinson, professor at George Mason University and former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs.
The task force – which will include law enforcement representatives and community leaders, among others – has a threefold purpose:
  • Build on the extensive research that’s being conducted by DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
  • Examine how to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust
  • Prepare a report and recommendations within 90 days of the task force’s creation

Reforming how the federal government equips local law enforcement

In August, the President ordered a review of federal funding and programs that help equip state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Over the course of the review, the White House explored whether existing federal programs:
  • Provide LEAs with equipment that is appropriate for what their communities need
  • Ensure that LEAs have adequate policies in place for use of the equipment, and that their personnel are trained and certified on how to use this equipment
  • Encourage LEAs to employ practices and standards that prevent misuse or abuse of this equipment
The final report, released today, finds inconsistencies in how these federal programs are structured, implemented, and audited. The report also identifies four areas of further focus that could help ensure that these programs help maximize the safety and security of both police officers and their communities:
  1. Local community engagement
  2. Federal coordination and oversight
  3. Training requirements
  4. The community-policing model
In light of this review, President Obama is planning to issue an Executive Order directing relevant agencies to work together and with law enforcement and civil rights and civil liberties organizations to develop specific recommendations within four months.

Learn more:
Related Topics: Civil Rights, Missouri


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