Under former President Barack Obama’s administration, several U.S. cities came under a consent decree that outright stated they would work with the Department of Justice’s civil rights division to reform themselves. This decision came after a string of police brutality and wrongful death investigations.
This simple decree stated that the outlined U.S. cities would do everything asked of and required of them to diminish the rampant racial biases in many police departments. It opened investigations into dozens of police agencies and even led to court cases that would determine outright changes in police procedural policy going forward.
Many saw this as a large step in the right direction for the modern Civil Rights Movement, and Obama was praised when he finally stepped in and ordered something to be done.
Now, a two-page decree that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has produced will suddenly cut back on that federal oversight, potentially setting back the massive step forward in the battle against racially biased law enforcement.
Here are just a few quotes, taken in full view of the context, right from the memo itself:
“The Federal government alone cannot successfully address rising crime rates, secure public safety, protect and respect the civil rights of all members of the public, or implement best practices in policing. These are, first and foremost, tasks for state, local, and tribal law enforcement.”
“The misdeeds of individual bad actors should not impugn or undermine the legitimate and honorable work that law enforcement officers and agencies perform in keeping American communities safe.”
No one is asking the Federal government to do this alone. What was implemented was a collaborative work to overhaul the system and get rid of the racial profiling and biases as much as possible.
Even Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis acknowledged the fact that issues undergird many police organizations:
“We wouldn’t be under a consent decree if we didn’t have issues. We have issues.”
That statement came after seven Baltimore police officers were indicted by the FBI on very serious federal racketeering charges, from falsifying overtime reports all the way to drug charges. These decrees that were put forth took the first step in holding police officers accountable for their actions, just as they hold every other citizen accountable for theirs.
Now that Sessions has officially declared a scaling back of those investigations, it will destroy any little progress that had been made towards holding police officers accountable.
And before people go and start saying, “Well, it’s not all police officers.”
No, not all police officers are beating and murdering people without cause or provocation. Just like not all American citizens are committing crimes worthy of prison.
But, those American citizens who are committing crimes worthy of prison are going to prison. Why should it be any different for police officers?
When President Donald Trump unveiled his slogan of “Making America Great Again,” it imposed the idea that America was no longer great while outright stating that he would, in fact, make this country great.
Scaling back on necessary implementations to prevent the unprompted killings of various people by our police departments is not how you make a country great.
It is how you make a country angry.
Check out this video noting how the police union itself wants racial profiling reinstated:
Featured image courtesy of Youtube video.