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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Department Wants to End Profiling Based Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation

By Steve Neavling

tickethewire.com

The days of profiling may be over for federal law enforcement, according to a report obtained by the Washington Post.

The ban on profiling would apply to people based on their ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

One impact of the policy, for example, would be prohibiting surveillance of mosques without proof of wrongdoing.

No exemption will be given for national security investigations either, the Post reports.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said his upcoming retirement from the position won’t stop him from pursuing this.

“There remains a great deal to be done,” he said. “I have no intention of letting up or slowing down.”

From Good to Great: AG Eric Holder Championed for Civil Rights Like No One Before Him

By Jamelle Bouie
Slate

On Thursday the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner joined with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the National Bar Association, and the Black Women’s Roundtable to call for a full federal investigation in the police killings of the two young men.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was part of the event, and he was about to take questions from those assembled when the news broke that Attorney General Eric Holder intended to resign from the administration. Naturally, Sharpton had a few words for the occasion.

“There is no attorney general who has shown a commitment to civil rights like Eric Holder,” said Sharpton, “If he is resigning, the civil rights community is losing the most effective civil rights attorney general in American history.”

That is high praise, but it’s hard to say it’s unreasonable or unjustified. When President Obama entered office, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department was in shambles, neglected by President Bush and staffed with a coterie of partisan operatives. Long-serving lawyers left the office, case files were closed with little explanation, political appointees sought to block liberals from career positions, and anti-discrimination efforts were few and far between.

At his confirmation hearing at the beginning of Obama’s term, Holder made the Civil Rights Division his priority.

To that end, Holder took aggressive steps to repair the damage of the previous administration and restore the traditional priorities of the Civil Rights Division. On voting rights, Holder was a strong advocate against voter identification laws, attacking the 2012 Texas law as a “political pretext to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right” and comparing some practices to Jim Crow laws. “Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them—and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes,” he said.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Investigating Police-Involved Shooting of Black Man at Wal-Mart Store

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s increased reviews of police department practices has reached Ohio after a grand jury opted no to indict officers involved in the unusual fatal shooting of a man at a Ohio Wal-Mart, the Associated Press reports.

Pledging a “thorough and independent” investigation, the Justice Department said it’s trying to determine whether any civil rights laws were violated in the Aug. 5 death of John Crawford III, 22.

Crawford, who is black, reportedly was waving a gun in the store and didn’t obey commands when police arrived.

Police shot and killed Crawford. Turns out, he had an air rifle taken from the Wal-Mart shelf.

“The Crawford family is extremely disappointed, disgusted and confused,” the family said in a statement. “They are heartbroken that justice was not done in the tragic death of their only son.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

 

Federal Prison Population Drops for First Time in Decades Under AG Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the first time in several decades, the federal inmate population has decreased, the Associated Press reports.

The Justice Department revealed that roughly 4,800 fewer inmates were incarcerated last year than the year before.

Attorney General Eric Holder said he anticipates the inmate population to be about 250,000 next week, which is the end of the budget cycle.

“This is nothing less than historic,” Holder said, addressing a conference at the New York University School of Law that was hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice. “To put these numbers in perspective, 10,000 inmates is the rough equivalent of the combined populations of six federal prisons, each filled to capacity.”

Holder has been working to reduce the prison population, saying its costly and contains too many nonviolent offenders.

Fresh DOJ loss in ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs Fight

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder/doj photo

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to keep the courts from wading into the “Fast and Furious” documents dispute that led to him being held in contempt by the House last year.

In a ruling Monday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned down the Justice Department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent some records about the administration’s response to the “Operation Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal from being turned over to Congress.

To read more click here.

 

Cities with Patterns of Civil Rights Abuses Still Receive Surplus Military Equipment

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Cities nationwide that are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations are still eligible to receive surplus military equipment, the Justice Department reports, according to the Associated Press.

The discovery raises questions about the controversial Pentagon program following the militarized law enforcement response in Ferguson, Mo.

The Pentagon responded that it would work closer with the Justice Department to prevent the weaponry from falling into the hands of problematic police agencies.

“We need to do a better job there,” Alan Estevez, a Defense Department official who oversees the program, said.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which has been under the oversight of the Justice Department because of substantiated cases of excessive force and fake arrests, continues to get militarized supplies.

The same goes for other troubled police departments across the country, the AP reports.

DOJ Supports Special Needs Student Who Was Used As ‘Rape Bait’

Sparkman Middle School, Google Maps

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is supporting the family of a girl who was raped after a teacher told her to act as bait to catch a suspected sexual predator at Sparkman Middle School in Toney, Ala.

The Daily Mail reports that the school had failed to discipline the suspected predator because he had not been caught in the act. So a teacher told a 14-year-old special needs student to meet the boy in a bathroom where he had allegedly had sexual encounters with other girls.

The ill-conceived plan took a horrifying turn when the suspect met her in a different bathroom, so no one came to help.

To support the family’s lawsuit against the Madison County School Board, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief.

The filing alleges that the incident violated Title IX.

“School administrators knew the student’s extensive history of sexual and violent misconduct and were alerted to the substantial risk he posed,” the brief read.

 

Court of Appeals Grills Justice Department Over Handling of Barry Bonds’ Steroids Case

Barry Bonds/facebook

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s attempt to maintain a criminal conviction against retired baseball slugger Barry Bonds is a swing and miss, several U.S. appeals court judges ruled.

Reuters reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had serious doubts that Bonds’ testimony about steroids amounted to a crime.

“I find your reading of the statute absolutely alarming,” Judge William Fletcher told the government.

Bonds testified in 2003 under a grant of immunity that he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.

The judges expressed serious doubts that Bonds committed a crime.

In April 2011, the slugger was convicted of one obstruction charge, while the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on three perjury charges.