(Bloomberg) — A U.S. judge blocked a federal commission from releasing a final report on ways to improve policing, faulting the panel for doing its work behind closed doors and failing to include people with diverse views.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr created the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice last year. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington ruled the panel had violated the law, in part because it was comprised entirely of current and former law enforcement officials.
The commission failed to obey a mandate of the Federal Advisory Committee Act that such groups be “fairly balanced” in the viewpoints represented and that they conduct meetings that are open to the public. The decision is a win for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, which filed the suit challenging it.
“Especially in 2020, when racial justice and civil rights issues involving law enforcement have erupted across the nation, one may legitimately question whether it is sound policy to have a group with little diversity of experience examine, behind closed doors, the sensitive issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system in America today,” Bates said.
The Justice Department didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
The case is NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, 20-cv-01132, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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