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Congressional Black Caucus rips DOJ decision on police program

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WASHINGTON, Julia Manchester, The Hill, September 16, 2017 | comments

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) ripped the Trump administration's move on Friday to roll back an Obama-era program that oversees and rates how police officers work with members of the communities they serve.

“This is yet another example of what the black community has to lose under this administration," Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said in a statement.

“This decision is wrong, reckless, insensitive, and immature. It also further divides police departments and communities – rich and poor, black and white," Richmond said.

The Department of Justice announced changes Friday targeting the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance.

The initiative was created under former President Barack Obama and allowed police departments and cities to seek federal help on various issues, including police shootings and alleged brutality. 

Supporters argue the program aimed to bridge a gap between police officers and the public.

“Changes to this program will fulfill my commitment to respect local control and accountability, while still delivering important tailored resources to local law enforcement to fight violent crime,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday. 

Sessions directed the department to conduct a review of its local law enforcement programs, including the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance. 

The announcement came as a judge acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder charges in the 2011 shooting of black motorist Anthony Lamar Smith. 

“In the midst of protests in St. Louis, Mo., in response to the acquittal of a cop who killed a 24-year-old African-American man, the Trump Justice Department is gutting an important federal program that is focused on restoring trust between communities and police departments and monitoring progress in this area," Richmond said.  

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