Legal Aid’s Attorney-In-Chief, Seymour W. James Jr., pushes back on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ call for a “law and order” policing approach that would only continue to hurt communities of color and other vulnerable New Yorkers.
Sessions’ old tactics are going to backfire on us: #tellusatoday
April 19, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions uses selective figures in his opposing view “Avoid harmful federal intrusion,” to justify a policing approach that has long marginalized communities of color and the vulnerable.
Guised as “restoring law and order,” we know exactly what this could entail: the resurgence of stop-and-frisk, heightened racial profiling, and disbanding efforts to increase police accountability and transparency — essentially rolling back the clock to a time when America was grossly unequal and unjust.
Fortunately, public and media attention has finally begun to focus on instances of police brutality — which are not as isolated as Sessions contends, but rather a longstanding culture that manifests itself in precincts throughout the country.
His math is fuzzy, too, and doesn’t pass the test when applied to New York City. Here, arrests have decreased, and crime has decreased as well. His policies are contrary to true and equal justice.
Sessions’ policing approaches are misguided for what communities really need, and his track record on issues important to our clients are troublesome to say the least. The last thing New York City, and the country, need is what he and his new Justice Department have to offer.
Seymour W. James Jr.
The Legal Aid Society
This letter was originally published in USA Today.