Sessions Indicates DOJ to Pull Back on Civil Rights Suits

AG Jeff Sessions speaks to the Natl AGs Association about cutting back on civil rights lawsuits against police departments.
Image: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the DOJ will focus Federal efforts on effective policing, and cut back on civil rights suits against police departments.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday civil rights suits against police departments will be limited under President Donald Trump.

During a meeting with state attorney generals, Sessions said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is “pulling back” on the suits, NBC News reported.

“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,” he said.

Sessions said the DOJ is shifting toward an emphasis on making those in minority or poor communities feel safe from violent crime, a move which will require more effective policing with help from the federal government. He believes the change is not “wrong or insensitive to civil rights or human rights.”

Federal prosecutors will be encouraged to pursue charges for crimes committed using firearms, resulting in heavier penalties for offenders than what courts at the state level can impose, according to NBC News.

“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.

Editor’s Note: Sessions said, specifically, “…rather than dictating to local police how to do their jobs – or spending scarce federal resources to sue them in court – we should use our money, research and expertise to help them figure out what is happening and determine the best ways to fight crime. We should strengthen partnerships between federal and state and local officers. And we should encourage proactive policing that ensures our police and citizens are communicating and working well together.”

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