The renewed push to reform policing and rebuild trust of law enforcement in minority communities will be a “legacy item” of the Obama administration, says Attorney General Eric Holder, the Washington Post reports. Calling the current national discussion around race, justice and policing “an opportunity that we cannot afford to squander,” Holder insisted to a packed conference room of community leaders and police officials in Philadelphia that it will take candid conversations to repair broken lines of trust — which will make things safer for both residents and officers. “The mistrust that exists in certain communities is real, it’s not something that’s made up. It’s not something that’s a media invention,” Holder said, adding: “If we break down this distrust, at the end of the day it’s good for people in uniform.”
The attorney general’s remarks came as he began his fifth in a series of community forums with police and community leaders, an initiative launched as part of the administration’s response to the ongoing unrest and Black Lives Matter protests against police impunity sparked by the deaths of several black men at the hands of police last year, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. In Washington, D.C., earlier yesterday, Holder said it was unacceptable that no accurate federal database exists about the number of use-of-force incidents by police or the number of officers wounded or killed in the line of duty each year.