The war on cops, many believe, has been incited by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. When Ferguson, Missouri was in crisis mode after Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, an African-American male, Attorney General Eric Holder made a personal appearance at the crime scene and said police had created a "toxic" environment. The DOJ then launched an investigation, seemingly in an effort to expose any racism in the Ferguson police force. Holder said their findings proved they had fostered “unconstitutional practices” in the community that made minority residents fearful.
Loretta Lynch’s DOJ doesn’t appear to be much friendlier to cops. When the Sandra Bland case made headlines, the new attorney general said it highlighted an overall frustration and fear minorities feel in the presence of police. She has at other times, however, shown support for men and women in uniform, even calling them “peacemakers” and denouncing violence against them.
Yet, her words can't shield the fact that the DOJ is currently investigating several police departments throughout the country, hindering their efforts and putting them on their guard.
Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who also happens to be the Chairman Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, voiced the frustration of many Americans in a new letter to Lynch, demanding answers as to why her department is so bullish toward police. The DOJ is, he insisted, “chilling” police from doing their jobs.
The beginning of Cruz’s letter sets the frustrated tone:
I write today to request information about the Department of Justice’s interactions with state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States. I am very concerned that the Administration’s policies, as currently implemented by the Department, may be reducing the effectiveness of state and local law enforcement officials, chilling their ability to stop criminals in their communities, and fueling a nationwide crime increase.
He proceeds to outline his list of demands.
1. Preserve all paper-based documents, e-mail-based communications, e-mail-based calendar appointments, electronic documents, electronic communications (including voicemails, SMS (i.e., text) messages, and instant messages), and all other electronic data regardless of format, created since January 1, 2011, that:
a. Are records originally produced or currently in the possession of the Department’s Civil Rights Division;
b. Relate to investigations of state, local, or municipal law enforcement agencies (which include police departments, sheriff offices, or other law enforcement entities);
c. Relate to the development or implementation of guidelines, procedures, or protocols used in the investigation of any of the agencies described in 1.b.;
d. Are or relate to any consent decrees or other agreements referencing or impacting the agencies described in 1.b.;
e. Relate to any investigations of any type of misconduct of any Department employees, contractors, subcontractors, grantees, subgrantees, and consultants who may have played any direct or indirect role in any investigation of any of the agencies described in 1.b.; and
f. Include or reference either the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or Freddie Gray, or the incidents that led to their deaths.
Interfering with police efforts can be costly to communities. Consider how crime has spiked in Baltimore, where cops are afraid to do their jobs. As one officer put it, “The proactive, self-initiated policing has stopped…We are now in reactive mode.”
Cruz demands these documents be provided by Tuesday, Oct. 20.