Lynch Comments On Race, Police Could Cause Confirmation Controversy


As Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch makes her rounds on Capitol Hill in anticipation of confirmation hearings early next year, the New York Times examines her record of speaking on issues of race and criminal justice. After abuses by New York police officers in the 1990s, Lynch, as the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, spoke forcefully about “the pain of a broken trust” that African-Americans felt and said the responsibility for repairing generations of miscommunication and mistrust fell to law enforcement. “Frankly, the onus is on law enforcement because we are the ones who have taken the oath to protect and to serve the people of this city,” she said in 2000. “And we are the ones who have the ability to change from within.”

Lynch's highest-profile case involved charges against New York police officers for the 1997 attack in which a Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, was beaten and sodomized with a broom handle. The case became a national symbol of police brutality. Now, however, her earlier remarks could put her at odds with law enforcement groups who say the Obama administration has unfairly tarnished police officers in its comments about the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. “Whatever has happened in America to cause these feelings of resentment, it's not a failure of law enforcement,” Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, told CBS. He added that the police should not be asked to change tactics to address larger societal problems. “It's decades of racial disparity, and economic disparity. It's not a problem with the police.”

Comments are closed.