Under heavy fire from Democrats over his alleged lying to Congress about meeting with Russian diplomats while he was a surrogate for the Trump presidential campaign, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department will limit suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities.
“We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” Sessions said Tuesday.
“So we’re going to try to pull back on this,” he told a meeting of the nation’s state attorneys general in Washington.
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Sessions said such a move — which reverses a tactic aggressively executed under President Obama — would not be “wrong or insensitive to civil rights or human rights.” Instead, he said black communities must feel free from the threat of violent crime, which will require more effective policing with help from the federal government, per nbcnews.com.
Ebony.com notes how under the Obama Administration, the Justice Department opened 25 investigations into police departments and sheriff’s offices and was enforcing 19 agreements at the end of 2016, resolving civil rights lawsuits filed against police departments in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, New Orleans, Cleveland and 15 other cities.
Sessions said he will encourage federal prosecutors to bring charges when crimes are committed using guns.
“We need to return to the ideas that got us here, the ideas that reduce crime and stay on it. Maybe we got a bit overconfident when we’ve seen the crime rate decline so steadily for so long,” he said.
He’s also reviewing whether or not to get tougher on the Justice Department’s current policy toward enforcing federal law that prohibits possession of marijuana. His opposition to legalization is well-known, and he emphasized it during an informal gathering of reporters.
“I don’t think America will be a better place when more people, especially young people, smoke pot.”