A coalition of law enforcement officials and activists is urging President Trump to adjust his policies on policing and criminality, the first time such a group has spoken out against the Trump administration, the New York Times reports. Prominent prosecutors, police chiefs and criminal justice overhaul advocates — including Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and representatives of the conservative Koch brothers network — are gathering in Washington, D.C., at a National Law Enforcement Summit that opened Wednesday.
Among the speakers are former Attorney General Eric Holder and Sally Yates, the acting attorney general whom Trump abruptly fired in the first few days of his presidency. Holder issued a sharp rebuke of the Trump administration’s criminal justice reform policies calling them “disappointing, dispiriting and ultimately dangerous,” The Hill reports.
“They are not tough on crime, they are not smart on crime,” Holder said. The Obama attorney general called the administration’s policies “ideologically motivated.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has pursued an aggressive approach to crime in major cities. He has claimed that Obama administration reductions in mandatory minimum sentences for some drug prosecutions has led to a large increase in crime. The coalition said in a letter to Trump and Sessions that today’s crime challenges “are best answered with modern strategies, innovative solutions and a reliance on confirmed data.”
The group said good strategies had been “pioneered” at the local level and should be used across the U.S. A spokesman for the Department of Justice said that “Americans voted for President Trump’s brand of law and order and rejected the soft-on-crime policies that made it harder to prosecute drug traffickers and put dangerous criminals back on the street.” The summit meeting, which was coordinated by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, is taking place on the same day that Sessions is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.