The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference) today sent letters to both the House and Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, and the House Oversight and Reform Committee calling on them to conduct public oversight hearings on the deployment of federal agents to American cities to quell protests and ostensibly fight crime.
The letters come in the aftermath of federal agents’ violent response to protests in Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon, over the past several weeks, and last week’s announcement by the Administration that it has expanded a federal grant program, Operation Legend, to allegedly fight violent crime in cities where sustained demonstrations protesting police violence have been occurring.
“Immediate hearings are necessary to prevent more individuals from being needlessly persecuted by unjust federal law enforcement activities,” according to the groups’ letter.
Federal law enforcement personnel have descended upon Washington D.C., Portland, and other cities to terrorize and quell protests under the guise of fighting violent crime. Protests of any kind, and especially against police violence, must not be met by police violence. President Trump has made public his intentions to deploy federal officers in similar ways to other American cities like Chicago and Albuquerque. These federal officers lack training and likely the authority to act as an occupying force in these cities.
Additionally, deployment of officers will inevitably lead to more violence and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities. LDF, ACLU, and The Leadership Conference urge Congress to act now and hold public hearings to shine light on these actions.
LDF, ACLU, and The Leadership Conference are committed to protecting civil rights of protesters. We stand with demonstrators across the country who are demanding accountability from law enforcement and systemic change in the public safety regime.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Whether it’s achieving full equality for LGBT people, establishing new privacy protections for n our digital age of widespread government surveillance, ending mass incarceration, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than 8 million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., to safeguard everyone’s rights. Visit www.aclu.org.