Police chiefs throw assist behind Biden’s civil rights choose

WASHINGTON (AP) – Dozens of police chiefs who have led some of America’s largest police force support Kristen Clarke, who has been nominated to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

In a letter to Congressional leaders on Friday, law enforcement leaders from more than three dozen cities said Clarke had “demonstrated an uncanny ability for years to work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement officials” as a prosecutor and attorney for civil rights.

Signatories include Bill Bratton, who was the New York City Police Department commissioner and Los Angeles Police Chief; Charles Ramsey, who directed the Philadelphia and Washington, DC police forces; Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and dozens of others.

Some of the largest law enforcement groups in the US have thrown their support behind Clarke as well. These include the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and others.

Clarke, who was president of the Civil Rights Advocacy Committee under the Act, an advocacy group, is expected to play a pivotal role as the Department of Justice shifts its focus more to civil rights issues, criminal justice, and police policy after law enforcement agencies have killed black Americans. Attorney General Merrick Garland has also emphasized his commitment to combating racial discrimination in the police force, declaring at his confirmation hearing that America “does not yet have equal justice”.

Endorsements from both bosses and some of America’s largest law enforcement organizations signal widespread support for Clarke’s nomination within the law enforcement community as a bitter and fair advocate fighting civil rights violations.

“The past few years have shown the importance of law enforcement officers building trust in their communities,” said the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee .

Police chiefs said Clarke has built a national reputation “as someone who is trustworthy and who fiercely defends and protects the most vulnerable crime victims in our communities.”

“As a result, she is someone who will bring tremendous credibility among community leaders to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division,” the letter said. “This credibility will be paramount as it does part of the vital work of building relationships with law enforcement executives and finding accountability when it is needed.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled Clarke’s confirmation hearing for Wednesday.

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