Police integrity conference opens
Seeking ways to build better relations with minorities
June 9, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hoping to begin a process that will improve relations between police and minorities, the Justice Department has brought together law enforcement and civil rights leaders for a two-day conference.
"We want to fashion recommendations and best practices that local, state and federal agencies can follow," said Attorney General Janet Reno as she opened the gathering Wednesday at a Washington hotel.
The Police Integrity Conference, as it is called, comes in the aftermath of several high-profile cases involving allegations of police brutality.
In the most recent example, a jury on Tuesday found a New York City police officer guilty of holding down Abner Louima while another officer sodomized the Haitian immigrant in 1997. The other officer pleaded guilty last month.
Three other officers facing civil rights charges were acquitted.
"Effective policing does not mean abusive policing," Reno said. "Across the country there are nearly 700,000 law enforcement officers and the overwhelming majority are hard-working public servants who care deeply and who do a dangerous job justly, fairly with excellence and with honor."
"But we, as a society," she said, "can not tolerate officers who mistreat law-abiding citizens or who bring their own racial bias to the job of policing."
Reno said the conference would focus on five topics:
"Improvements in these areas can come from several directions," Reno said.
"For example, changes in policies on high-speed chases and the use of choke holds and other restraints have made a real difference in many (police) departments in their efforts to reduce the number of incidents in which deadly force was used," she said.
Justice Department officials hope that, by sitting police and civil rights leaders down together over the next two days, they can find answers to a very divisive issue.
Police, civil rights leaders sit down to build bridges
Official New York City Web site
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.