DOJ police reform hypocrisy
By Dan Klein
You just have to admire the DOJ. They come into cities and force expensive reforms and policies upon local police and local taxpayers, while they completely refuse to enact the same reforms upon themselves. A perfect example of this is body cameras and Winston Smith.
On June 4, Smith was shot and killed in Minneapolis by members of the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force. The officers allege that Smith was armed with a gun, and they shot and killed him when he threatened them. All very reasonable, and in years past it would have ended there.
But in today’s world everyone wants to see the body camera video to determine what happened. Where is the body cam video from this shooting? The DOJ says there isn’t any and that’s OK by them. You see, the DOJ doesn’t require their law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. The DOJ just last year started allowing local cops who work on DOJ task forces to wear body cameras if their local agency required it. That’s right, prior to last year local cops who worked on DOJ task forces were not allowed to wear body cameras. The DOJ says that allowing local cops to wear body cameras while being assigned to federal task force operations in Minneapolis hasn’t been implemented yet. What a bunch of BS.
I have to wonder how easy it will be to get any body camera video from members of a DOJ task force. Will the DOJ release video of their officer’s deadly force encounter voluntarily? Like they demand from local cops? Just try to FOIA anything from the DOJ and see what you get and how quickly you get it. The DOJ wants to work in secret, it’s who they are.
That’s what bugs me about the Department of Justice, they are a bunch of hypocrites. The DOJ Civil Division comes marching into cities like Albuquerque, pointing their crooked little fingers at local cops and demanding all sorts of changes, but these same Civil Division attorneys are silent when it comes to their own agency.
How do we make all law enforcement equal?
President Biden should sign an executive order immediately requiring all Department of Justice law enforcement officers (who are not undercover) to immediately wear, and turn on, body cameras whenever they interact with citizens. He should further require all DOJ officers to record all search warrants and to record all interviews with witnesses and suspects (the FBI still just takes handwritten notes).
These are the sweeping police reforms that the DOJ requires of local cops. If you want real police reform, start at the top with the Department of Justice cops. The FBI, US Marshal’s, ATF, etc aren’t any more special than local cops and when they shoot citizens, the public deserves to see their body camera video too.
What is fair for one is fair for all. The real police reform must begin with the Department of Justice. Lead by example, or don’t pretend to lead at all.