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By Amber Randall
Activists and civil rights groups criticized the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) pause on police reform, calling the move “alarming” Tuesday.
Many of the groups claimed the pause could potentially violate civil rights and harm the public, reports NBC New York.
“Consent decrees are the means by which you provide a hedge of protection, civil rights and civil liberties,” NAACP President Cornell Brooks said. “Why would our attorney general upend and undo that? This review and potential reversal represents a potentially catastrophic, life-or-death consequence for cities where citizens feel like they’re under siege.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested a review Monday of consent decrees the Obama DOJ made with various police departments. The Obama administration alleged some police departments, like Chicago and Baltimore, had a pattern of racial bias and police misconduct. (RELATED:DOJ To Embark On Review Of Obama-Era Policies)
“It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies,” Session wrote in the memo.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the pause would mark a return to “racialized policing.”
“He’s talking about the federal government turning its back on a pattern and practice of racialized policing that goes back decades in this country,” Jeffery Robinson, the ACLU’s deputy legal director, said. “To suggest that the government should just leave it to local police departments is just frightening.”
A large police group, however, welcomed the review on the Obama DOJ consent decrees. The Fraternal Order of Police agreed that the police misconduct needs to be stopped, but expressed concern over whether the decrees actually help.
“If a consent decree is warranted, a consent decree should be imposed,” James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, argued. “But in a lot of places, decrees are punitive in nature and do absolutely nothing to improve the climate of the city.”
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