Posted by: Rainbow411 / GSHRadio on 04/18/2017
BY MARC FLIEDNER APRIL 18 2017 5:44 AM EDT
Photo: AP Photo
For those who care about the attainment of equal justice under the law, the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general is a disaster. Sessions’s racism and xenophobia, and his well-documented contempt for the LGBTQ community, make clear his intent to pull American criminal justice back to a time when white straight male privilege ruled unchecked.
Sessions first began wielding influence over Trump before he ever donned the "Make America Great Again" cap and appeared with him on the stump. Sessions endorsed Trump while most other Republicans were running for cover. He showed the kind of loyalty that Trump covets, and in return, earned a blank check to run the Justice Department. With his appointment as AG, Sessions became not only a member of Trump’s cabinet but also the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. That’s right: the guy whose well-documented contempt for voting rights, sanctuary cities, and the fundamental rights of the LGBTQ community is calling the shots on broad criminal justice policy. He’s also taking steps to silence those that disagree with him, like Preet Bharara.
As an American, I am worried. But as a former prosecutor, I know there are concrete steps we can take to resist.
Prosecutors will need to get creative about how to provide fair and equal justice. They must hire and train teams who can handle cases of police brutality. We have already seen Sessions abandon his duty to provide oversight of law enforcement. As a prosecutor, I worked with plenty of great cops, the majority of whom are decent and honest people trying to make a difference. Unfortunately, I know that as in any large organization, there are some that abuse their power. In these instances, it is important that the nation’s top lawyer understand his duty to provide oversight.
I understand this because I have worked for police oversight throughout my career. Last year I prosecuted Peter Liang, a New York police officer who killed an unarmed man in Brooklyn housing project. There was a lot of political pressure on us to stop prosecution, but I wanted to show that a badge is not a shield from being held accountable.