With Few Black Prosecutors, ‘Levers of Power’ Out of Reach


In light of recent controversial grand jury decisions against indicting police officers responsible for the deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York, some civil rights leaders are pointing out the need for more black prosecutors, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Their hiring could help mend the growing rift between communities of color and law enforcement agencies, the activists say.

Without black prosecutors, “there are entire levers of power that we won't have access to,” says former NAACP leader Ben Jealous. Besides U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, there are few prominent black prosecutors. In California, roughly 3 percent–11 out of 368 criminal division attorneys in the state Department of Justice–are black. There are few African Americans in private practice, and even fewer become partners. Nationally, only 3 percent of the attorneys working in private law firms are black. Just 2 percent of the partners at top firms are black.

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