Under the guise of “restoring trust” between communities and police departments that have been militarized by the federal government, the Obama administration's Justice Department announced this month that it had selected six U.S. cities to serve as pilot sites, to develop and deploy federal guidance for local police to create better procedures, reduce racial bias, and regain citizens' trust.
The plan, which is controversial because it is in line with Obama administration goals to further nationalize and federalize local law enforcement, has been officially dubbed the “National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.” It will use U.S. taxpayer dollars to deploy “experts” and “researchers” charged with training officers to act in a manner that the DOJ deems just — in essence doing the bidding of the Obama administration. Officially, the Justice Department will be helping local officials “fight crime” under the scheme, according to news reports.
Initially, the program, which will cost American taxpayers almost $5 million, will aim to “assess” the relationship between local police and the communities they serve. Then, the DOJ squads will work to develop plans supposedly aimed at enhancing “procedural justice,” reducing bias, and supporting “reconciliation in communities where trust has been eroded,” the Justice Department said in a statement announcing the plan.
The first six cities to be targeted as pilot sites will be Birmingham, Alabama; Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price described the program as “a tool to strengthen our partnership with the justice system.” However, other police departments are also in the cross hairs. According to the official announcement, an unspecified number of “police departments and communities that are not pilot sites” will also be targeted for more DOJ “training” and “technical assistance.”
Skeptics have pointed to past precedent and deemed the plan dangerous. Among other deeply troubling elements, in the past the Justice Department's “training” schemes for state and local police have included, as The New American reported in 2012, teaching officers to associate mainstream political activism, such as conservative bumper-sticker displays on cars, with “terrorism” and “extremism.”
Ironically, the next year, the DOJ itself was exposed working with an anti-Christian extremist group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, that had inspired a confessed terrorist to attempt a mass-murder attack on a pro-family group. The year after that, the Justice Department came under major fire for funding a New York “community group” that was involved in a rap video promoting the murder of police officers. Indeed, since Obama took office, the administration has been pumping out a non-stop barrage of propaganda demonizing tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of Americans as “extremists” and potential “terrorists,” owing to their mainstream political views. The administration has also consistently vilified police who were accused of abusing their power, even before investigations were concluded.
Indeed, there's little reason to believe that this latest effort by Obama's DOJ has as its actual goal the increased professionalism of police.
Attorney General Holder has been repeatedly lambasted for his own anti-police extremism, including publicly making accusatory comments about police officers before investigations into the facts of controversial behavior have taken place. He was also held in criminal contempt of Congress — the first sitting DOJ boss in history to face such a serious measure — after trying to unlawfully cover up the administration's “Fast and Furious” gun-running program for Mexican cartels. Guns from that scheme, which official documents show was aimed at pushing more assaults on gun rights, resulted in the deaths of multiple U.S. law-enforcement officers. Holder has successfully avoided prosecution so far, but the contempt citation remains in effect and carries a potential jail sentence. Numerous other mega-scandals have plagued Holder's tenure as well.
Now, the DOJ boss wants even more control over your local police department. “By helping to develop programs that serve their own diverse experiences and environments, these selected cities will serve on the leading edge of our effort to confront pressing issues in communities around the country,” Holder said.
It was not immediately clear why or under what authority Holder thinks the Obama administration should control local police, rather than allowing them to be overseen by local voters and officials, as has traditionally been the case in the United States and other free nations. Other DOJ officials, though, offered the official rationale for the ongoing takeover and erosion of self-government. “Restoring trust where it has eroded is one of the defining public safety challenges of our day,” argued Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason of the Office of Justice Programs, apparently without a trace of irony (more than two-thirds of Americans say the federal government is “out of control” and a threat to liberty — hardly an indicator of public trust). “Trust-building is the responsibility of the police and the community, and the National Initiative’s goal is to build the bridge that will define a new era in public safety.”
The latest announcements surrounding the controversial Obama-police scheme occurred, supposedly by coincidence, just 13 hours after two police officers were shot in Ferguson amid ongoing tensions there — tensions inflamed by DOJ claims of police racism and injustice in Ferguson. “Incidents like the one we have witnessed throw into sharp relief why conversations like the one we convened today, to build trust between law enforcement and community members, are so important,” claimed Holder. Outlines of the DOJ's plan were first presented in September of last year after a Ferguson police officer, who has since been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in multiple investigations, shot and killed Michael Brown.
In its official announcement, the Justice Department offered few details about the real scope of their planned activities, but it is clearly wide-ranging. “The three-year grant has been awarded to a consortium of national law enforcement experts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA and the Urban Institute,” the March 12 press release stated. The “Urban Institute” is a far-left federally funded “think tank” that also receives funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and other establishment sources.
Meanwhile, the announcement tried to undermine skeptics' worries about new anti-conservative dogma by the government: “The initiative is guided by a board of advisors which includes national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates.” Which “civil rights advocates” were involved was not made clear, though race-profiteers and incendiary extremists such as Al Sharpton have strong links to the administration and its efforts to federalize law enforcement.
“In a holistic approach, the initiative simultaneously addresses the tenets of procedural justice, reducing implicit bias and facilitating racial reconciliation,” the release continued, again without any suggestion of irony even as the administration comes under increasing fire for fomenting and exploiting the racial unrest in need of reconciliation. “The initiative complements and is advised by other Justice Department components such as the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services [COPS], the Office on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.” Many of those DOJ units, of course, have come under heavy criticism as even former Justice Department officials lambaste Holder for packing them with politicized radicals.
Efforts to calm a worried public will likely go to no avail because the recent selection of six pilot cities for the controversial policing schemes came less than a week after Obama's “Task Force on 21st Century Policing,” created by unconstitutional executive decree, announced its plans to impose “national standards” on state and local law enforcement across the nation. Essentially, in exchange for unconstitutional federal bribes, the Obama administration plans to in effect further nationalize and federalize local and state police departments — a process remarkably similar to the unconstitutional schemes used to foist the Common Core nationalization of K-12 education on over 40 states.
More than a few critics of Obama's efforts to further nationalize and federalize law enforcement — a state and local responsibility under America’s constitutional system — noted that the scheming was in line with his campaign rhetoric about building what he called a “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military. Separately, opponents of the plan noted that Congress revealed in an official 1961 report that communist operatives in the West and particularly in the United States were working hard to nationalize American police forces. Of course, national police forces — from the KGB to the Gestapo — have always been a hallmark of tyranny.
The controversial Obama administration demands for national standards for police, meanwhile, came just a few months after United Nations boss Ban Ki Moon, exploiting the chaos in Ferguson, called for American police to obey “international standards.” Like Ban, the Obama administration seized on the unrest in Missouri — much of it bankrolled by billionaire statist George Soros, it later emerged — to push his radical agenda to strip communities of control over their own police departments. Of course, the Obama administration, and previous presidents, have also been showering local law enforcement with military weaponry — ironically one of the purported justifications for the further federalization of policing.
The constitutionalist organization that publishes this magazine, The John Birch Society, has for decades been running a nationwide campaign to “Support Your Local Police and Keep Them Independent.” From lobbying Congress to cut off the funds and educating the public about the Constitution, to working with state and local officials to stop the federal bribes with “strings” attached, there are many ways to fight back against the establishment's efforts to impose a national police force accountable to Washington, D.C. politicians and bureaucrats rather than local communities. As Obama and Holder work to usurp all control over law enforcement from local citizens, Americans who hope to remain free under the U.S. Constitution must ensure that the administration's plot is defeated. Not only is it unconstitutional, history shows it is extraordinarily dangerous.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at