After deciding a trip to Ferguson, Missouri would be too disruptive, President Obama instead meets with civil rights leaders, including LDF President and Director Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill, and young organizers at the White House to discuss ways of rebuilding trust and improving relations between law enforcement and communities of color.
The White House debated sending President Barack Obama directly into riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri, to address the racially charged aftermath of the decision not to prosecute a police officer who killed an unarmed black man.
But, according to three White House officials, the idea was dropped for now after a series of meetings, including one in the Oval Office last Tuesday with Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. A visit to Ferguson would be too messy at the moment, the officials said, with concerns about everything from choosing who would stand with the president and the neighborhood where he would speak to the police resources that would be diverted.
…So Obama chose to stay in Washington, where he announced plans Monday to launch two reviews of current practices and to ask for $263 million over the next three years for as many as 50,000 new body-worn cameras and other support for police. And he spent much of the afternoon discussing the challenges with more than 40 people, including mayors, civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials, youth activists and administration officials.
…“I think we have every reason to believe this is going to result in something real,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, citing the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which is intended to report within 90 days on ways to “promote crime reduction while improving public trust,” a senior administration official said Monday. It will be co-chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a professor at George Mason University and former assistant attorney general in the Office of Justice Programs.
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