Republicans criticize DOJ police probes: 'dangerous precedent'
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Republicans tasked with overseeing the Department of Justice are wary of the DOJ’s new investigations into police departments in Louisville and Minneapolis.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday the Louisville investigation would examine whether the police department engaged in “discriminatory conduct on the basis of race” while policing.
The Louisville investigation is the latest announced federal “pattern and practice” probe opened by President Biden’s DOJ. Garland previously announced a probe into the Minneapolis Police Department.
Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees expressed skepticism of the new policing probes.
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Freshman Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told Fox News on Thursday that the Biden DOJ’s announcement is “taking a dangerous precedent” by probing the police departments.
“Biden’s Department of Justice is taking a dangerous precedent by injecting the hand of the federal government into local jurisdictions further to justify the Left’s identity and tribal politics,” said Donalds. “This administration likes to say America is a systemically racist country, and this investigation will likely go down the rabbit hole of this false narrative.”
“Understanding and solving the problems impacting liberal cities and equity in the criminal justice system doesn’t take a federal investigation,” the Florida Republican continued. “Cities like Minneapolis and Louisville aren’t suffering from a racist system; they suffer from liberal policies and poor management. Change the leadership, and you’ll change the problems.”
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas – the former House Rules Committee chairman – told Fox News on Thursday that Americans cannot live in a “lawless” land and questioned why the DOJ felt it “necessary” to probe the police departments.
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“I hope we, as a nation, aim to respect the rule of law and feel blessed to have men and women in blue that put their lives on the line each day. We cannot and must not live in a lawless society,” Sessions said.
“We must empower our local and state law enforcement to take the necessary actions for the safety of others. As a member of the House Oversight Committee, I would like to ask the Department of Justice why they feel it necessary to become involved?”
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., told Fox News that he is “very concerned” the DOJ probe is part of a Leftist assault on law enforcement that will create future opportunities for Washington to interfere with local police.
“Federal investigations have their time and place, but I am very concerned that this probe is just another front in the Left’s attacks on police departments,” Biggs said in a statement on Thursday. “Democrats in Congress and in the administration have already advocated D.C.’s takeover of local police departments; these investigations open the door for further interference by D.C. bureaucrats into local matters.”
In a statement to Fox News on Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said he believed the DOJ’s probe into the Louisville police department would not overreach “if done right.”
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The Kentucky Republican said there can be “bad actors” in policing, like other professions, and they must be held accountable for their actions.
“Law enforcement officers across the country protect and serve their communities every day. We owe them an incredible debt of gratitude for the way they put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Like any profession, there will always be bad actors and those bad actors must be held accountable for any wrongdoing. If done right, this investigation by the Department of Justice will not overreach, but instead help LMPD improve in their efforts to keep the Louisville community safe.”
Following the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin on all three counts for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Garland also announced DOJ would be opening a more sweeping proble into the Minneapolis Police Department.
Garland later announced on Monday that the department would launch a second “pattern or practice” investigation in the Louisville police regarding the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed a year ago by a Louisville police officer.
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The investigation “will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes,” Garland said during a press conference.
Garland told reporters that a civil suit would be coming should DOJ and the Louisville Police Department not reach an agreement and that investigations into other departments could be coming.
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