WASHINGTON, DC – According to statements delivered by Attorney General Merrick Garland to members of the House on May 4th, the 2022 budget request for the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice is seeking an additional $85 million in order to investigate domestic terrorism.
— Sherryl Perry (@Quiet_No_Longer) May 5, 2021
When delivering testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, AG Garland stated the following:
“Our budget supports my commitment to protecting our national security, including addressing both international and domestic terrorism while respecting civil liberties.”
“It includes increases of $45 million for the FBI domestic terrorism investigations and $40 million for the U.S. attorneys to manage increasing domestic terrorism caseloads.”
This push to increase the DOJ budget with respect to investigating instances of domestic terrorism conveniently comes at a time when many vocal influential Democrat-affiliated individuals and outlets have likened anyone supportive of the previous president as being tantamount to terrorists.
The description of Trump as a terrorist leader is neither metaphor nor hyperbole—it is the assessment of veteran national security experts. Trump, those experts say, adopted a method known as "stochastic terrorism.” https://t.co/L8MPtmKxOI
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) February 13, 2021
So it is with little surprise that AG Garland testified, during his confirmation hearing, that one of his initial priorities as attorney general would be to take a deep dive into what transpired on January 6th. It was during AG Garland’s February 22nd confirmation that he specifically referred to rioters present on January 6th as being white supremacists:
“If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”
Moving back to his testimony delivered on May 4th, AG Garland proclaimed that the threat of domestic extremism and terrorism are concerns that keep him “up at night”:
“My oath is to protect the Constitution and Americans from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. And so both forms of terrorism are extraordinary concern to me. We never want to take our eyes off of what happened on 9/11 and that the risks that the country continues to face from foreign terrorist attacks on the homeland.”
“Likewise, we have a growing fear of domestic violent extremism and domestic terrorism and both of those keep me up at night…virtually every morning, I get a briefing from the FBI in one of the other or both areas.”
The attorney general’s testimony with respect to the DOJ budget request saw many asks regarding funding increases, such as additional funding for the DOJ’s civil rights division, community relations service, funds to support the Office of Violence Against Women and many other programs and efforts.
Perhaps one of those beneficial requests amid the DOJ budget for 2022 was a requested 21% budget increase for the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
Said budgetary increase would see the onboarding of 100 new immigration judges, technological improvements, and other various means to efficiently address the enormous case backlog facing the immigration court system.
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Back in April, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report pertaining to AG Garland announcing an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department following the conviction of Derek Chauvin.
Here’s that previous report.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN- U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday, April 21st, that the Justice Department will begin an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department after a jury convicted former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, a death which has resulted in nearly 11 months of sometimes violent riots.
The US DOJ will launch a federal investigation into policing practices by the Minneapolis PD a day after the Derek Chauvin Trial verdict got announced.
— Justin Gibson (@JGibsonDem) April 21, 2021
The probe, known as a “pattern-or-practice” inquiry will be more wide-ranging than a separate federal investigation into Floyd’s death last May, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The federal investigation will look into whether or not officers within the Minneapolis police department engage in routinely violating the civil rights of citizens through excessive force, discriminatory policing or other prohibited behavior.
While Floyd’s death has led leftists to claim an issue of “systemic police racism,” no such charges were brought against Chauvin which alleged Floyd’s death was due to racial animus.
Even before the guilty verdict, the Justice Department has begun soliciting information from the public in order to find out what their experiences were with Minneapolis PD officers, Garland said.
On Tuesday, the former officer was convicted by a jury of murder and manslaughter related to Floyd’s death, which led to the riots and calls for some form of criminal justice reform from both Democrats as well as Republicans.
Democrats’ calls have been much more radical, with a number of lawmakers on the left side of the aisle calling for defunding of police. The more radical elements, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaiab (D-MI) have called for the elimination of police, as well as prisons.
In announcing the new probe, Garland said:
“Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis. Building trust between community and law enforcement will take time and effort by all of us. But we undertake this task with determination and urgency, knowing that change cannot wait.”
City officials in Minneapolis said they welcomed the investigation, including both Mayor Jacob Frey as well as Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who said his department would fully cooperate in the investigation.
He noted that he had sought federal help for some time while trying “to make the MDP the best department possible.” Arradondo acknowledged the intent of the inquiry, which he said was designed “to reveal any deficiencies and unwanted conduct within the department” was appreciated.
He also said he is hopeful the probe would “provide adequate resources and direction” to correct any such deficiencies.
Minneapolis PD statement on the DOJ probe announced by AG Merrick Garland this morning.
"Chief Arradondo welcomes this investigation. He, and the department, will cooperate fully."
Full statement below.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) April 21, 2021
The Journal reached out to a union official for the police department, who declined to comment.
The move by Garland marks a change in direction for the federal government and signals a much more “anti-police” sentiment from the Biden administration, which isn’t surprising.
Under the Trump administration, such investigations had been sharply reduced.
The investigation announced by Garland often-times results in court-enforceable agreements known as “consent decrees” which ostensibly puts the department under control of the federal government and removes local oversight.
Trump’s DOJ believed such decrees were unfair to local authorities, however Garland, appointed by Biden believes the federal government needs more of a role in local policing.
Senior Justice Department officials said the agency would study how officers in the department are trained, as well as how policies are derived and implemented.
The investigation will be conducted by officials from the DOJ’s civil-rights division, as well as the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota.
They will examine use of force by Minneapolis police officers during riots, look into whether they engage in discriminatory conduct, or mistreat citizens with behavioral health issues.
The probe will also look into accountability standards and practice for the department, Garland said.
“I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices,” Garland noted. “Good officers welcome accountability because accountability is an essential part of building trust with the community and public safety requires public trust.”
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the DOJ’s civil rights division had wanted to open a pattern-or-practice investigation into Minneapolis last year after it was learned that officers in the department had used neck restraints approximately 240 times over five years.
In 40 such incidents, they claimed, suspects had been rendered unconscious.
However former Attorney General William Barr opposed any such probe over concern that an additional federal investigation would diminish morale within the department at a time when there was already a significant amount of turmoil surrounding the Floyd death and associated riots in the city.
After Floyd’s death, the city council tried to disband the department and institute a different model, however that effort didn’t make it onto the ballot last fall.
In March, the council approved an effort to get the idea on the ballot this coming fall. In response to Garland’s announcement of the DOJ probe, the city council said they welcomed it.
The police department continues to experience turmoil in the wake of Floyd’s death, with a significant number of officers resigning or retiring which has caused staffing shortages and with it a significant escalation in violent crime.
The new probe by the Justice Department isn’t a quick investigation, with some pattern-or-practice investigations taking years to complete.
They involve investigators from the DOJ doing ride-alongs with officers, talking to community groups and residents and digging through department reports and records prior to issuing a final report.
After the investigation is complete and results announced, the Justice Department then works alongside the local department in order to implement any recommended changes which is held in place by a legal settlement between the federal and local governments.
This in essence becomes a federal court order which is overseen by a monitor. If no such agreement is mutually reached, the federal government can sue the local jurisdiction to force compliance with reforms.
Under the 1994 crime bill, Congress gave the attorney general the authority to sue police departments over anything deemed to be unconstitutional conduct.
That bill was motivated in part by the 1991 beating of Rodney King by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Studies conducted since the implementation of such investigations have been met with mixed results.
Under the Obama administration, some two-dozen such probes were undertaken, most famously one involving the Ferguson, Missouri police department where convenience store robber Michael Brown was shot and killed after attempting to disarm Off. Darren Wilson.
One can assume that given the anti-police rhetoric emanating from Biden, Harris and other Democrats, police departments across the country better get used to such federal investigations.
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