Another Prosecutor Quits Trump's Policing Task Force, Worried It Will Cause Further Division
A Kansas prosecutor working with President Donald Trump's controversial law enforcement task force resigned from his role, telling Attorney General William Barr in a letter that he was "deeply offended by a political agenda of dividing instead of giving build "and feared that the Commission would not" recognize systemic racism in our judicial system. "
Wyandotte District Attorney Mark Dupree, the first and only Black-elected district attorney in Kansas, said he had joined the committee's working group on re-entry programs and initiatives in hopes of bringing different perspectives together to make the relationship between communities and law enforcement positive to influence.
"Unfortunately, that excitement and joy has been replaced by disappointment and concern about a process that has left too many key voices missing and lacked transparency," Dupree wrote.
“I have not yet heard whether the Commission's final report aims to adequately address the racial justice issues facing millions of us, and I am not confident that the Commission's recommendations recognize systemic racism in our judicial system - these questions are fundamental to gaining the trust of colored people in this country, ”Dupree wrote.
Mark Dupree, an elected Kansas prosecutor, stepped down from a working group on President Donald Trump's Law Enforcement Commission. (Photo: Mark Dupress Campaign)
“Instead, and more worryingly, the Commission appears to be intent on exploiting the divisions that exist in this country. Other commissioners and I did not have access to the full report and final recommendations. I cannot put my name on a document in good faith if I have no idea what the final document actually advocates, ”Dupree wrote.
“As the first and only African American-elected district attorney in the state of Kansas, and as a reform-minded prosecutor focused on being smart about crime and taking a holistic approach to justice, I am deeply offended by a political agenda to divide rather than build. This report will perpetuate the damage of the war on drugs, which was a war against people of color, rather than moving our country towards justice, ”he wrote.
A federal judge temporarily suspended the work of the commission last month, ruling that it is breaking the law by excluding a number of votes and that any report published by the commission must come with a warning. The Commission should publish its report in October just before the presidential elections.
A Justice Department spokesman said they received the letter from Mr. Dupree and respected his request. "He was a valuable member of the working group on re-entry programs and initiatives and made important contributions to the work of the commission," said the spokesman. The spokesman did not say when the report would be released.
Prosecutor John Choi resigned from a commission task force earlier this year and raised similar concerns about the Trump commission's agenda.
Miriam Krinsky, the executive director of the progressive prosecutor's office, Fair and Just Prosecution, welcomed Dupree's decision, saying the commission had "missed an important and timely opportunity to rethink the vision of policing in America".
"Members were not selected through a bipartisan process and civil rights experts, defense lawyers, ex-prisoners, researchers and academics were clearly absent from the commission and its working groups," said Krinsky. "At a time when trust in law enforcement is lower than ever, this commission and every questionable report it issues will only divide our country further."
The Justice Department's inspector-general wrote in a report released this week that public criticism of the commission by members, outside groups and a federal judge "can undermine public confidence in the commission's work".
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said one of the "most pressing challenges" the Justice Department faces is figuring out how to "most effectively increase public confidence in law enforcement and protect individual civil liberties" of several black Americans through police officers.
The prosecutor is leaving Trump's law enforcement commission, saying the solution is in
Federal judge stops Trump's Cop-Filled Law Enforcement Task Force
The DOJ's watchdog knocks on the department for lax police supervision and demands "quick" federal action
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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