From Baltimore to Seattle, police are guilty of “broken systems plagued by unlawful practices and tainted by bias,’ the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights head Vanita Gupta declared on Friday.
Gupta repeatedly blamed police for “broken systems” and “systemic” flaws while speaking at the University of North Carolina:
“But we know that the true causes – the real reasons – for unrest run far deeper than any individual incident. And we know that while public attention to these issues might be new, these causes are long-standing and systemic. We’ve found these causes time and again through several of the 23 civil pattern-or-practice investigations we’ve opened into local police departments during this administration.”
“These cases focus not on individuals but on systems. Broken systems – plagued by unlawful practices and tainted by bias – can devastate a community and corrode public trust, letting down not just the victims of police misconduct but the officers who seek to proudly wear the badge.”
Gupta singled out Maryland, Missouri, Louisiana and Washington as examples of “broken systems” of policing:
- “We saw the impact of broken systems in Baltimore, where a “zero tolerance” street enforcement strategy became a quest to produce numbers,”
- “We saw the impact of broken systems in Ferguson, where the criminalization of poverty – and intentional racial bias in police and court practices – eroded public trust,”
- “We saw the impact of broken systems in New Orleans as well, where officers lacked the ability to effectively communicate with immigrant communities,”
- “We saw the impact of broken systems in Seattle, where the use of excessive force against individuals in crisis left families dealing with mental illness or addiction with nowhere to turn for help.”
“Simply put, unconstitutional policing threatens the security and well-being of our communities,” Gupta concluded.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, however, Gupta added, extending her indictment to America’s entire justice system:
“Of course, broken systems and unconstitutional policing practices don’t operate in isolation from other inequities in our justice system. Indeed, throughout the justice system – from arraignment to sentencing – when people experience a two-tiered system of justice that stacks the deck against those living in poverty, these broader failures erodes trust, too.”
FLASHBACK: In July of this year, Pres. Obama even suggested that police were to blame for the violence against them and that they'd be "a lot safer" if they'd admit it's their fault.
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