BREAKING NEWS: The Department of Justice just released a scathing report on Chicago police confirming what we already knew existed : widespread and systemic racism.1 There are other ongoing civil rights investigations--including on the killing of Alton Sterling--that could uncover more injustice. But if Jeff Sessions takes office, he could decimate it all.
Sign the petition: Tell the DOJ to release preliminary information and updates on all unfinished investigations.
The DOJ can still stop Sessions from doing one thing
The DOJ must release information on all civil rights investigations before Trump takes office.
Sessions' Senate confirmation hearing this week was scary--and Trump takes office in 7 days.
We're already seeing the dangers that lie ahead with Sessions at the front of the Department of Justice. After being asked what it feels like to be called a racist, Sessions brushed it off as a consequence of being from the South and said “I know discrimination existed” referring to it in the past tense.12 Not that it’s breathing and alive in our country today, but something that “was” wrong some time ago.
We all know that’s a lie and it’s dangerous.
Right now, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is conducting dozens of investigations probing exactly what Jeff Sessions just said was a thing of the past: discrimination. The Department just concluded its investigation into the notorious Chicago police department and found horrific patterns of racial discrimination. But there are still important investigations pending including the killing of Alton Sterling and the horrific conditions in Alabama prisons.3 And one thing is clear : Sessions would destroy the evidence that’s been gathered and cover up the truth about systemic racism the first chance he gets. There are only 7 days left before Trump takes office--we have to call on the DOJ to shine the light on injustice before it’s too late.
That’s why we’re calling on the Department of Justice to release as much information on all current investigations as possible. Will you sign the petition ?
Tell the DOJ: Wrap up police investigations and release preliminary reports and status updates from all unfinished probes before Trump takes office.
In one of the biggest investigations this year, the department took a microscope to the Chicago Police Department’s egregious conduct--following a slew of horrendous acts of excessive force and the Laquan McDonald cover up. It’s been expected that the DOJ’s report will be so in-depth that it would become a “mandate for change” and set a precedent for police across the country.4 The Department just released the report today5--but there are so many other important investigations that could be completely lost unless we do something.
In Sessions’ home state, Alabama, the Department is investigating the deplorable and inhumane prison conditions that sparked the Alabama prison labor strike. Alabama prisons are overcrowded 160 percent beyond capacity and there’s no doubt Sessions’ would cripple efforts to reform them.6 Not to mention, the family of Alton Sterling is still waiting for justice six months after he was killed by police in the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department.7
The investigations led by Pres. Obama's administration have exposed the ugly truth about law enforcement, led to systemic change, and could radically shift how we hold police accountable in this country. After the scathing DOJ report on Ferguson PD found that police extracted millions of dollars of wealth from the Black community by disparately targeting Black people, the city put a cap on how much money the city could collect in fines and fees in the criminal justice system.8
These kinds of changes that improve the lives of Black people wouldn’t be possible if we never found out what was in that report. There’s too much at stake, and even if all of the investigations are not finished before Trump takes office, the information that has been discovered should be released to the public.
At a time like this, we can’t afford for the Justice Department to let Trump’s klan destroy this work.
Until justice is real,
Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Clarise, and the rest of the Color Of Change team
1. "Justice report finds systemic failures by Chicago police," The Chicago Tribune, 01-13-2017
2. "White southern senators agree that it's hard being a white southern senator," ThinkProgress, 01-10-2017
3. "Justice Department probe into fatal Baton Rouge shooting taking too long, Alton Sterling's aunt says," Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 08-08-2016
"Justice probe of Chicago Police to wrap up before Obama leaves," Chicago Sun Times, 01-04-2017
4. "After a blistering report, what's next for the embattled Chicago police?," The Washington Post, 04-16-2016
5. "Justice report finds systemic failures by Chicago police," The Chicago Tribune, 01-13-2017
6. "How Jeff Sessions, as U.S. Attorney General, would oversee the federal probe of Alabama prisons," AL.com, 12-15-2016
7. "Justice Department probe into fatal Baton Rouge shooting taking too long, Alton Sterling's aunt says," Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, 08-08-2016
8. "One year after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a report highly critical of police and court practices in Ferguson, the city may be nearing an agreement to end a lawsuit filed by the federal agency," U.S. News, 03-08-2016