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Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the most anti-civil rights duo in American government since the days of George Wallace. The appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions – known in part, for past racist comments – as Attorney General will exacerbate the situation.
Their election will drastically alter the federal response to the ongoing debate around policing in American cities at a time when many local departments are ill-equipped to tackle reforms on their own.
“This is a cataclysmic change,” said Jonathan Smith, a former chief of special litigation in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, where he oversaw more than 20 investigations into police agencies. “The world really did change under our feet.”
While Obama has focused on criminal justice reform, Trump campaigned on stronger support for police officers and a tougher approach against crime.
Samuel Walker, professor emeritus of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, said those differences in tone are likely to be reflected in how Trump deploys his Justice Department.
“This is a historic shift in public policy, and the policies in the federal government, and that’s based on Trump’s words, the Republican platform and the various people who are his advisers and supporters,” Walker said.
Stephen Rushin, an assistant law professor at the University of Alabama, said “it’s hard to imagine a [Trump] DOJ being the same rigorous enforcement arm as Eric Holder’s or Loretta Lynch’s DOJ” on police reform.
Rushin said all signs point to a Trump administration being less litigious on police reform.
He said that would discontinue a pattern since the Democratic presidency of Bill Clinton, when Congress gave the Justice Department the authority to investigate whether local police departments had a pattern or practice of violating individuals’ civil rights.
For individuals who suffered a deprivation of their civil rights, including police brutality, false arrest, racial profiling, and other violations, it is critical to have an experienced Civil Rights attorney represent you. The experienced New York and New Jersey Civil Rights lawyers of Schwartz & Posnock appear in all State and Federal Courts, and have convenient locations in Monmouth County (Eatontown), Essex County (Livingston), Union County (Linden), and Middlesex County (East Brunswick). Call us at 732-544-1460 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. Visit us at www.njcivilrightslawyers.com.