By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr expressed confidence Friday that the Trump administration’s law enforcement commission will soon release its report on police reform, despite a federal judge blocking temporarily commission work earlier this month.
“The final report has been written. I think there are a lot of great and constructive ideas,” Barr told the Association of Chiefs of Major Cities in New Orleans in his first public remarks about the commission since its work was stopped.
“I wait and wait and I think we will be able to get them out very soon.”
Barr unveiled the police commission in January following an executive order from US President Donald Trump. He had planned to deliver a list of proposals shortly before the November 3 presidential election.
But the lack of diversity on the panel and the secretive process it used to develop the proposed reforms led the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund to sue Barr, the commission and its top officials in April.
Federal District Judge John Bates stopped the report from being released on October 1, claiming it violated public assembly laws by not being diverse, open, and transparent.
The 18 commissioners on the panel include representatives from federal, state and local law enforcement, but not civil rights advocates, defense attorneys, or police officers from large cities.
Reuters reported exclusively that several people working on the commission, including Fayetteville, North Carolina Police Chief Gina Hawkins (NASDAQ :), had warned the Justice Department that their operations lacked transparency.
Drafts of the report obtained by Reuters through public records requests push for stronger policing powers and due process protections for officers, but do not address civil rights advocates’ concerns about systemic racism in the law. policeman.
Since then, the Justice Department has asked the judge to allow it to publish the final report.
On Friday, Barr played down the need for reforms in the police department, pointing the finger at prosecutors and prison officials, saying that while the police have done a “very good job,” it is the “rest of the system that is that often falls off. “
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