The Justice Department’s Planned Law Enforcement Overhaul Closely Aligns With Progressive Demands

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The Justice Department’s plan to reduce federal law enforcement and expand its antidiscrimination policies closely resembles demands from progressive activist groups.

On Thursday, civil rights groups met the Justice Department to discuss such issues as the implementation by President Joe Biden of his executive orders on “Advancing effective, accountable policing and criminal justice practices to enhance public trust and safety,” which will be issued on May 25, 2020, in honor of George Floyd’s death. The executive order sparked the Justice Department to reassess its 2014 Guidance for federal law enforcement agencies regarding the “Use” of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

In a Thursday press release, the Justice Department stated that “Department Leadership pledged to continue vigorous civil rights enforcement” in accordance with the Attorney General’s commitment to an overall approach to civil right and to engaging thoughtfully communities on issues that affect them.

Before the meeting, the Brennan Center for Justice (a left-wing law-and-policy organization) and a coalition of more than 50 organizations published their recommendations on May 2, for Attorney General Merrick G. Garland to reassess the 2014 antidiscrimination guides issued by the Obama Administration. The left-wing groups also demand that immigration enforcement be enforced at the southern border and investigations into alleged Chinese spying, as well as surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (SPLC), National Immigration Law Center and NAACP Legal Defense Fund were among the prominent left-wing activist groups that wrote to Garland and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas.

The groups sent a letter saying that they appreciated the conversations many of their organizations had already with your departments. They urged them to take this opportunity to release comprehensive and meaningful anti-discrimination polices to end bias profiling in your agencies’ partnerships with local and state law enforcement.

The groups advocate expanding anti-discrimination policies to ensure that nationality and origin aren’t “used as a substitute to discriminate” based on race, ethnicity or religious beliefs. According to documents obtained by the Daily Caller from a source who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, the Justice Department intends to add nationality to its protected characteristics list.

The documents included portions of the DOJ’s draft proposal for updating its anti-discrimination policies. The documents obtained by Daily Caller reveal that under the DOJ’s new antidiscrimination policies, agents are prohibited from considering a suspect’s “actual, perceived, race, ethnicity or nationality as well as gender, nationality or national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or sex characteristics.

The Daily Caller reported that based on these documents, FBI agents and federal law enforcement officers would also be restricted in their ability infiltrate terrorist groups abroad. Agents won’t be able use ethnicity to find sources in foreign terrorist groups.

The progressive groups also support the expansion of the anti-discrimination laws to include more law enforcement activities. The DOJ’s guidelines for 2014 distinguish between “routine and spontaneous” law-enforcement practices, where guidelines are applicable, and investigations where officers have more latitude. Left-wing groups that wrote to Garland believed the DOJ should remove this distinction and apply guidelines to all law enforcement activities. The department intends on doing so, according documents.

Progressives have also suggested that the guidelines be expanded to include state and local law enforcement. According to activists, the 2014 guidance excludes local and state law enforcement. This limits the federal government’s capacity to address allegations of police bias.

The DOJ’s proposed changes will prevent federal law enforcement from identifying high crime areas and using crime statistics in the community to determine areas that law enforcement should target, according to a report by the Daily Caller based on documents.

A source familiar with the process told The Daily Caller that the DOJ will release updated anti-discrimination policies on May 25, in honor of George Floyd’s death.

Floyd’s death by a Minneapolis officer in May 2020 sparked months of riots and protests from Black Lives Matter activists, who demanded the defunding of urban police departments. Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, was sentenced to more than 20 years of prison in June 2021 for the murder of Floyd.

FBI data examined by the Heritage Foundation show that the widespread demonstrations coincided with an increase in violent crime in urban areas. The murder rate increased by 30% by 2020. The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) data shows that youth homicides increased by 47% in 2020.