April 11, 2021 22:49

Second Prosecutor Quits Presidential Policing Panel

A second local prosecutor has asked the U.S. Justice Department to have his name removed from a controversial report on policing reforms, saying he feared it would fail to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system, Reuters reports. Mark Dupree, the district attorney in Wyandotte County, Ks., told U.S. Attorney General William Barr that work of the department’s special law enforcement commission had been “smothered by a pernicious political agenda.” The commission started working before the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which led to nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. Dupree, an African American, is the second person who worked on the commission to resign. Gina Hawkins, a commissioner and a police chief in North Carolina, raised similar concerns.

DOJ called Dupree “a valuable member of the working group on Reentry Programs and Initiatives and made important contributions to the Commission’s work.” In October, a federal judge stopped the Justice Department from publishing the commission’s report, saying it had violated federal open meetings laws. The ruling came after the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund sued, alleging that the panel lacked diverse membership, allowed police interest groups to have undue influence on the commission’s work, and failed to give ample access to open meetings. The commission had planned to deliver a slate of proposals recommending sweeping new powers for police before the November presidential election.

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