ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER: JUSTICE DEPT. TO COLLECT DATA ON STOPS, ARRESTS AS PART OF EFFORT TO CURB RACIAL BIAS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
$4.75M Project Seeks to Ease Mistrust Between Law Enforcement, Minority Communities
WASHINGTON—Noting that African-American and Hispanic males are arrested at disproportionately high rates, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that the Justice Department will seek to collect data about stops, searches and arrests as part of a larger effort to analyze and reduce the possible effect of bias within the criminal justice system.
Attorney General Holder said the project grew out of President Obama’s call, issued last July following the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, for the Justice Department to seek to reduce tensions between law enforcement and minority communities.
"Racial disparities contribute to tension in our nation generally and within communities of color specifically, and tend to breed resentment towards law enforcement that is counterproductive to the goal of reducing crime,” Attorney General Holder said. “Of course, to be successful in reducing both the experience and the perception of bias, we must have verifiable data about the problem. As a key part of this initiative, we will work with grant recipients and local law enforcement to collect data about stops and searches, arrests, and case outcomes in order to help assess the impact of possible bias.”
The data collection is one part of the Department’s new National Center for Building Community
Trust and Justice. It will be funded through $4.75 million in competitively awarded grants. The grant recipients will be named later this year.
Also said AG Holder, “Last July, following the verdict in the case involving the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, President Obama spoke out about the need to promote better understanding between law enforcement and young men of color. He specifically directed the Justice Department to work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies to develop training and other innovative tools that can help to reduce discord and restore trust.
“We are heeding the President’s call. This month, the Justice Department is launching a new initiative – the National Center for Building Community Trust and Justice – to analyze and reduce the effect of racial bias within the criminal justice system. The Center will be funded through an initial competitive grant award totaling $4.75 million and is jointly supported by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, the COPS Office, the Civil Rights Division, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Community Relations Service. This effort will encompass a broad range of areas in which fairness and trust can come into question–from stops and searches to wrongful convictions.
Hear Mr. Holder's entire remarks here.