U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Justice Department will begin to implement a strategy seeking to collect data regarding police stops, searches and arrests across the country. The Department’s actions are in response to a larger initiative that looks to study and mitigate the effects of racial biases and prejudices within the United States criminal justice system.
Attorney General Holder referenced the disproportionately high arrest rates of African-American and Hispanic males, and stated that President Obama’s demand for the Justice Department to make reducing tensions between law enforcement and the minority communities they survey a top priority was a catalyst in the creation of the project.
“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.”
Funded through $4.75 million in competitively awarded grants, the Department’s new National Center for Building Community Trust and Justice aims to use data collection as a means to better rectify issues regarding race based injustices across the board. In his closing, Attorney General Holder mirrored President Obama’s personal values that lined the Justice Department’s greater mission.
“As our nation’s Attorney General, and as a father of three, I am personally dedicated to doing everything possible to reduce crime, to strengthen our communities, and to provide the support and assistance that all of our young people need – and that they deserve.”
The Attorney General’s full message can be viewed on the Department of Justice website.
Ugi Ugwuomo is a Music and Culture Writer based in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow him on Twitter: @rLfNowhere