Obama cracks down on abuses by big-city police departments
Thank goodness for Mr Obama and his side-kick, Eric Holder. They sure are taking command of the crime situation in America, one thug at a time. They are going to ferret out; humiliate and hold these criminals up as an example! Yeah, wishful thinking. The only thugs Obama and Holder are going after are the men in blue – the police – who endanger their lives daily on behalf of law abiding citizens. Yes, that’s right, Mr Obama, fresh from stirring up sh!t in the Middle East, has turned his sights on his own cops for his special love treatment. You see, Mr Obama and Mr Holder think that cops target Black and Hispanic criminals far too often and should instead be going after the White ones. Only problem is that the stats are representative of who is actually committing the crime. But, let’s not let facts get into the way here – the Left never does – and let’s rather focus on the couple of incidents where cops have been caught being a tad ‘heavy’ handed with Black and Hispanics. Well Mr Obama – why not just go the whole way and ban arrests of Blacks and Latino’s and instruct the men in blue to target only Whites? That way you can’t disappoint your loyal Progressive followers and they can go live happily ever after in their ivory towers, far away from all the crime – that won’t be happening anymore. Show them who’s boss Obambi!!
In a marked shift from the Bush administration, President Obama’s Justice Department is aggressively investigating several big urban police departments for systematic civil rights abuses such as harassment of racial minorities, false arrests, and excessive use of force.
In interviews, activists and attorneys on the ground in several cities where the DOJ has dispatched civil rights investigators welcomed the shift. To progressives disappointed by Eric Holder’s Justice Department on key issues like the failure to investigate Bush-era torture and the prosecution of whistle-blowers, recent actions by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division are a bright spot.
In just the past few months, the Civil Rights Division has announced “pattern and practice” investigations in Newark, New Jersey and Seattle. It’s also conducting a preliminary investigation of the Denver Police Department, and all this is on top of a high-profile push to reform the notorious New Orleans Police Department — as well as criminal prosecutions of several New Orleans officers.
The “pattern and practice” authority comes from a 1994 law passed by Congress after the brutal beating of Rodney King by white Los Angeles police officers, who allegedly yelled racial slurs as they hit him. The law allows the DOJ to sue police departments if there is a pattern of violations of citizens’ constitutional rights — things like an excessive use of force, discrimination, and illegal searches.
Often, after an investigation, the police department in question will enter into a voluntary reform agreement with the DOJ to avoid a lawsuit and the imposition of reforms.
“Under the Bush administration, the Justice Department disappeared here in terms of federal civil rights enforcement. You could see the shift to counterterrorism at the ground level after Sept. 11,” says Mary Howell , a New Orleans civil rights attorney who has been working on police misconduct cases for more than three decades. “Now they’re back doing criminal prosecutions of police and the civil rights investigation, which is huge.”
The DOJ’s investigations of troubled large departments “sends a message to the whole field,” says Sam Walker, an emeritus professor at the University of Nebraska who studies police accountability.
“The primary victims of police misconduct are African-Americans and Latinos. The Bush administration simply wasn’t interested in this,” Walker says. “The Obama-Holder DOJ puts a very high priority on this.”
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