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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Dismayed by Sessions’ Moves to Abandon Vital Police Accountability Measures

WASHINGTON -

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement following steps taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that indicate the Department of Justice may stop using consent decrees, or fully implement the ones already in effect:

“Jeff Session’s history of opposition to consent decrees was a key concern of The Leadership Conference’s during his confirmation hearing. Unfortunately, these latest steps by the Attorney General are a clear indication that his Department of Justice is moving toward abandoning its obligations to uphold federal civil rights laws through consent decrees.

Consent decrees are a crucial tool in the Justice Department’s enforcement of civil rights in a variety of areas, including addressing police misconduct. They are only issued after careful study, review, and approval by a federal judge, often after a determination that law enforcement acted in an unconstitutional manner.

These latest developments are particularly ironic given that in the same memo outlining a review of these vital consent decrees, Attorney General Sessions also noted that ‘Local law enforcement must protect and respect the civil rights of all members of the public.’

The underlying issues that consent decrees address have not disappeared. The Attorney General would do well to remember that he must serve the public, and continue to use every tool at his disposal to support police practices that preserve life and protect all.”

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

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