USA Today by Barbara McQuade, Joyce White Vance, Steven M. Dettelbach, Paul J. Fishman, and Ronald C. Machen Jr.
June 16, 2020
It is time to take action at a national level on police reform. A new House and Senate bill does just that.
As former U.S. attorneys who served during the Barack Obama administration, we worked with advocacy groups, victims, community groups and police to hold individual officers accountable and to implement department-wide reforms. We used laws like the 1994 federal pattern or practice statute, passed after four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted of beating Rodney King, to address unconstitutional policing practices within entire departments. We also worked to implement the recommendations of Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which reimagined police officers as guardians of the community instead of warriors of the streets.
We have been deeply disappointed to see the current leaders of the Department of Justice abandon these efforts. As recent events have made clear, ignoring the problems associated with policing in America will not make them go away.