Position Papers, Letters and Petitions Signed By The Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

PirateAndBum

Administrator
Staff member
Doesn't Silvia Stannard have anything better to do. like fair gaming people? Real hard job, getting Church of Scientology, National Affairs Office added to a letter they didn't even have to write. Bunch of losers.
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office supports continued funding of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

The Act authorizes the US government to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.


Letter to leadership of the Senate:

https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/NGO_FY2021_SFOPS_GloMag_Request_Senate.pdf


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

April 24, 2020

The Honorable Lindsey Graham
Chairman
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
S-128, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
S-128, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Leahy,

We, the undersigned democracy, human rights, and anti-corruption organizations and experts, write to thank you for including $1 million for Global Magnitsky sanctions enforcement in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) appropriations bill and urge you to include a total of $1.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2021 bill.

As you know, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656 note), which authorizes visa bans and asset freezes for human rights abusers and corrupt officials, is one of the most powerful foreign policy tools created in recent memory. It enjoys broad bipartisan support, and is widely viewed as one of the United States’ most effective methods for addressing human rights abuses and corruption – two key drivers of instability globally.

We have collectively documented numerous firsthand accounts from human rights activists around the world about the law’s powerful deterrent and accountability effects on corrupt activity and human rights abuses. Authoritarian leaders have taken notice. The law’s novel provision requiring the consideration of information submitted by international human rights organizations has empowered civil society to play a key role in holding kleptocrats and abusive actors to account, helping to energize and organize collaborative efforts in even the most repressive of environments.

Since the Global Magnitsky Act was signed into law in 2016, targeted sanctions have been imposed on 199 human rights violators, corrupt actors, and associated entities in 25 countries. This remarkable success is a testament to unprecedented cooperation between Congress, the Executive Branch, and civil society, and a demonstration of a shared conviction about the law’s utility.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) are responsible, respectively, for working closely with regional bureaus and U.S. embassies around the world to gather and vet information about possible human rights violations and acts of corruption. Together with the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB), the three bureaus work to identify perpetrators; and, led by EB, to share their recommendations and materials with the Department of the Treasury, which then assembles sanctions designations packages on each perpetrator. Unfortunately, as you know, demand for gathering and vetting information significantly exceeds current capacity. We are grateful that the FY20 SFOPS bill included $500,000 each for DRL and EB to begin to address this backlog. An additional $500,000 for INL will enable the hiring of 2-3 additional full time employees at INL focused specifically on Global Magnitsky enforcement, ensuring close attention to this issue at INL and more robust enforcement of a critical U.S. policy priority. We, therefore, propose the following bill and report language be included in Fiscal Year 2021:

Bill text:
For necessary expenses for training, human resources management, and salaries…of which not less than $1.5 million shall be available for addressing human rights violations and corruption as authorized by the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656 note).

Report language:
The Committee directs the Department of State to spend no less than $1.5 million to more effectively and aggressively implement the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, with $500,000 each for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs; Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; and Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Corruption and human rights abuses perpetuate and are born from violence and criminal activity, and exact an enormous toll socially, economically, and militarily. The United Nations estimates that the annual costs of corruption alone equal $3.6 trillion – roughly four percent of total global gross domestic product. Addressing corruption and human rights abuses is of paramount importance for U.S. foreign policy, and Global Magnitsky sanctions are one of the most powerful tools for doing so.

We respectfully urge you to provide $1.5 million for Global Magnitsky enforcement in the FY2021 SFOPS appropriations bill, including a clear “shall” set aside, and to include directive report language on implementation. We appreciate your consideration of this request and would be happy to meet with you in person to discuss this request in greater detail.

Sincerely,

Freedom House

Human Rights First

The Sentry

African Bar Association

American Jewish World Service

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Boat People SOS

China Aid Association

China Human Rights Accountability Center

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Committee to Protect Journalists

Council for Global Equality

EarthRights International

Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) Association of Washington DC

Free Russia Foundation

Global Diligence LLP

Global Witness

Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC)

Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights Foundation

International Christian Concern

International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London

Magnitsky Act Initiative

NGO Truth Hounds

Open Dialogue Foundation

Open Society Policy Center

PEN America

Reporters Without Borders

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Safeguard Defenders

TAF - Tahrir Alnisa Foundation

The Church of Almighty God

The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Torture Abolition And Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)

Transparency International

Truth Hounds NGO

Uyghur Human Rights Project

WatchDog.MD Community (Republic of Moldova)

Puneet Ahluwalia, South Asia Minorities Alliance Foundation

Toufic Baaklini, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, In Defense of Christians

Teng Biao, Grove Human Rights Scholar, Hunter College, the City University of New York

Bill Browder, Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign

Samuel M. Chu, Managing Director, Hong Kong Democracy Council

Ariel Dulitzky, Human Rights Clinic, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law

Camille Eiss, Chief of Global Partnerships and Policy, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

David J. Kramer, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Nadeem Nusrat, Voice Of Karachi

Cc: The Honorable Richard Shelby, Chairman

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *



Letter to leadership of the House of Representatives:

https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/NGO_FY2021_FSGG_GloMag_Request_House.pdf

* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

March 20, 2020

The Honorable Mike Quigley
Chairman
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
2000 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Tom Graves
Ranking Member
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
2000 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Quigley and Ranking Member Graves,

We, the undersigned democracy, human rights, and anti-corruption organizations and experts, write to thank you for your inclusion of $3 million for sanctions enforcement in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill and urge you to retain this same funding level in Fiscal Year 2021.

As you know, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656 note), which authorizes visa bans and asset freezes for human rights abusers and corrupt officials, is one of the most powerful foreign policy tools created in recent memory. It enjoys broad bipartisan support, and is widely viewed as one of the United States’ most effective methods for addressing human rights abuses and corruption – two key drivers of instability globally.

We have collectively documented numerous firsthand accounts from human rights activists around the world about the law’s powerful deterrent and accountability effects on corrupt activity and human rights abuses. Authoritarian leaders have taken notice. The law’s novel provision requiring the consideration of information submitted by international human rights organizations has empowered civil society to play a key role in holding kleptocrats and abusive actors to account, helping to energize and organize collaborative efforts in even the most repressive of environments.

Since the Global Magnitsky Act was signed into law in 2016, targeted sanctions have been imposed on 199 human rights violators, corrupt actors, and associated entities in 25 countries. This remarkable success is a testament to unprecedented cooperation between Congress, the Executive Branch, and civil society, and a demonstration of a shared conviction about the law’s utility.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is the U.S. government’s lead agency for enforcement of the Global Magnitsky Act. Assisted by the Department of State and Department of Justice, Treasury is tasked with assembling packages of information about each individual on whom the U.S. government plans to impose Global Magnitsky sanctions. Unfortunately, the number of potential sanctions cases to be vetted by the U.S. government far exceeds current capacity.

We are grateful that the inclusion of $3 million in the FY20 FSGG appropriations bill for the enforcement of Global Magnitsky and other sanctions will enable Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) to begin to alleviate this case backlog. It is critical that this funding level, and the specific funding set aside with “shall” language, be maintained in FY2021 bill to allow this important work to continue. We propose the following bill text and report language be included in Fiscal Year 2021:

Bill text:
For the necessary expenses of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence…of which not less than $3,000,000 shall be available for addressing human rights violations and corruption, including activities authorized by the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656 note).

1

Report language:
The Committee strongly supports efforts to strengthen national security through the use of targeted sanctions measures to address human rights abuses, combat threats, and protect the integrity of the financial system. Therefore, the recommendation once again includes funding for and directs the department to enhance expertise and investigatory capacity for sanctions investigations, policy development, and enforcement of sanctions, including through the use of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656 note).

Corruption and human rights abuses perpetuate and are born from violence and criminal activity, and exact an enormous toll socially, economically, and militarily. The United Nations estimates that the annual costs of corruption alone equal $3.6 trillion–roughly four percent of total global gross domestic product. Addressing corruption and human rights abuses is of paramount importance for U.S. foreign policy, and Global Magnitsky sanctions are one of the most powerful tools for doing so.

We respectfully urge you to maintain FY20 funding levels for sanctions enforcement, including the specific “shall” set aside, in the FY2021 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill and to include directive report language on implementation. We appreciate your consideration of this request and would be happy to meet with you in person to discuss this request in greater detail.

Sincerely,

Freedom House

Human Rights First

The Sentry

African Bar Association

American Jewish World Service

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Boat People SOS

China Aid Association

China Human Rights Accountability Center

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Council for Global Equality

EarthRights International

Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) Association of Washington DC

Free Russia Foundation

Global Diligence LLP

Global Witness

Hong Kong Democracy Council

Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights Foundation

International Christian Concern

International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London

Magnitsky Act Initiative

NGO Truth Hounds

Open Dialogue Foundation

Open Society Policy Center

PEN America

Reporters Without Borders

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Safeguard Defenders

2

TAF - Tahrir Alnisa Foundation

The Church of Almighty God

The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Torture Abolition And Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)

Transparency International

Truth Hounds NGO

Uyghur Human Rights Project

WatchDog.MD Community (Republic of Moldova)

Puneet Ahluwalia, South Asia Minorities Alliance Foundation

Toufic Baaklini, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, In Defense of Christians

Bill Browder, Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign

Samuel M. Chu, Managing Director, Hong Kong Democracy Council

Ariel Dulitzky, Human Rights Clinic, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law

Camille Eiss, Chief of Global Partnerships and Policy, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

David J. Kramer, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Nadeem Nusrat, Voice Of Karachi
Cc: The Honorable Nita Lowey, Chairwoman
The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member

3

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins open letter to President Trump expressing concern about the plight of Hmong and Montagnard Christians in Vietnam who are persecuted for their faith.


Experts raise Vietnam’s human rights violations against Christians in letter to US President | ADF International


https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://adfinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BPSOS-and-ADF-Letter-re-Vietnamese-Hmong-and-Montagnard-Christians.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwje0cPT69npAhVAHzQIHZbAB9MQFjACegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw3TaotconnjeZtWicnf6XaT


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

May 28, 2020

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are writing to applaud your appointment of the Special Adviser to the President on International Religious Freedom within the National Security Council, and to respectfully request your attention to the situation of religious minorities in Vietnam. The appointment reinforces your Administration’s consistent message that religious freedom is a top priority in its foreign affairs policies. In that context, we would like to respectfully draw your attention to the plight of tens of thousands of Hmong and Montagnard Christians in the remote Northwestern and Central Highlands of Vietnam who have been pressured and persecuted for their faith. The 25th anniversary of normalized relations with Vietnam provides your Administration an important avenue for protecting the fundamental freedom of religious freedom.

President Trump, last year during the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, you met with a former prisoner of conscience in the Oval Office, Montagnard Pastor A Ga, who had been jailed and tortured by the Vietnamese government for his faith. During that meeting, you gave hope to thousands of prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned because of their religious beliefs and free exercise. But even now, the Vietnamese government has imprisoned the man who took over the leadership of Pastor A Ga’s church, Pastor A Dao. We humbly ask you to use all available tools at your disposal to pressure the Vietnamese government to stop persecuting religious believers.

For decades, the Vietnamese Communist government has tried to suppress, if not exterminate, Christianity in relatively remote areas. The Montagnards who live primarily in the Central Highlands, not far from Laos, have been one such target. Many Montagnard communities first encountered Christianity and became Christians through the efforts of American missionaries in the 1960s. Since then, however, tens of thousands of Montagnard Christians have been forced to convert to a government-controlled denomination whose leadership is more loyal to the Communists than to God. Those Christians who have maintained independence and held on to their faith have been subjected to harassment, threats, detention, torture, denial of livelihood, and denial of basic citizens’ rights.

In September 2019, the Vietnamese Public Security publicly denounced Montagnard Christians in Dak Lak Province who joined North Carolina-based Baptist Pastor Gene Lathan in a prayer service conducted at a private home earlier in July. Public Security officers used a video clip of this prayer service to summon participating Montagnard Christians for interrogation.

Police interrogators frequently use threats of long-term imprisonment and even death to coerce victims to sign pledges to leave their denomination and stop reporting violations to human rights organizations, foreign governments, and international bodies such as the United Nations. The interrogators frequently threaten victims with prosecution and imprisonment for “unauthorized religious activities.” The government has sentenced some 60 Montagnard Christians to long-term imprisonment primarily because of their faith while justifying their sentences under the pretext of “national security” or “national unity.”

Similarly, provincial authorities have taken increasingly brutal measures to stop the spread of Christianity among Hmong hill tribes in the Northwestern highlands of Vietnam. The Hmong began converting to Christianity over 30 years ago. They mainly reside in the mountainous regions of Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, and Ha Giang provinces. For the past two decades, provincial authorities throughout these provinces have attempted to stamp out Christianity among the Hmong by insisting that they either renounce their faith or flee. Many have fled to previously uninhabited lands, primarily in the Central Highlands, where they live in makeshift tents and work as seasonal farming laborers. They lack access to clean water, health care, and basic necessities, a state of affairs that is especially dangerous during emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic. Others have fled the country to seek asylum.

Denial of “household registration” is a form of persecution that has been used frequently by provincial governments to force Hmong and Montagnard Christians to renounce their faith. Without registration documents, these Christians cannot get a citizenship ID card, own property, obtain legal employment, apply for a business license, open a bank account, receive public services, or even use the public library. Married couples may not obtain a marriage certificate, and their children may be denied a birth certificate. They are functionally stateless in their own country. Human rights organizations have documented at least ten thousand Hmong and Montagnard Christians who have been denied household registration.

For example, an estimated 97 families (totalling 521 individuals) in Subdivision 179, Lam Dong Province,have not been allowed household registration for the past ten years. Their multiple petitions for registration have been ignored by the responsible authorities. Many reports about their plight have been submitted by human rights organizations to various UN mandate holders, who have expressed concern with the government of Vietnam, but to no avail.

We humbly ask that your Administration raise these concerns with the government of Vietnam as its leaders are preparing to mark the 25th anniversary of normalized relation between Vietnam and the U.S. The government of Vietnam should ensure that provincial and local authorities:

(1) cease their policies of forcing Hmong and Montagnard Christians to either renounce their faith or join a government-sanctioned church, and of denying citizenship IDs and household registrations as punitive measures against those who practice their faith;

(2) issue birth certificates to all children bearing both parents' names, and facilitate their full access to education and benefits programs;

(3) issue citizenship IDs to all eligible individuals without them, and household registrations to all eligible families without them; and

(4) issue marriage certificates, backdating to the actual wedding date, to all eligible married couples that have been denied such certificates.

Under your leadership, the United States is leading the global movement to protect and promote religious freedom. Your recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly has laid the foundation for that global initiative. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of the International Religious Freedom Alliance demonstrates growing international support for your Administration’s focus on religious freedom.

We are confident that the Vietnamese leadership would pay utmost attention to your expressed concern and recommendations about the right to religious freedom of Hmong and Montagnard Christians in Vietnam.

Respectfully,

Dr. Thang D. Nguyen, Boat People SOS
Kelsey Zorzi, ADF International

ORGANIZATIONS

AdvanceUSA

Association for Advancement of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam

Buddhist Solidarity Association

Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam

Center for Pluralism

China Aid Association

Christian Freedom International

Church of Almighty God

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam

Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience

Con Dau Parishioners Association

CSW

European Federation for Freedom of Belief (Italy)

European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom

Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam

Interfaith League Against Povery (I-LAP)

International Campaign for the Rohingya

International Christian Concern

International Christian Foundation for Democracy

Jubilee Campaign USA

Junior Sacerdotal Council of Cao Dai Religion

Minh Van Foundation

Montagnards Stand for Justice

Religious Freedom Coalition

Save the Persecuted Christians

Stichting Vietnam Human Rights Foundation

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Vietnam Coalition Against Torture

Vietnam Veterans for Factual History

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights

INDIVIDUALS

Anastasiia Asseva
Executive Director
Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union

Pastor A Ga
Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ

Y Phic Hdok
Montagnards Stand for Justice

Dr. Grant McClure
Commander
Counterparts, a Vietnam War Veterans’ Association

Scott Morgan
Red Eagle Enterprises

Rev. Viet Nguyen
Pastor
Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Catholic Church
St. Petersburg, Florida

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 
Last edited:

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
The Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins June 1, 2020 letter urging Congress to take swift and decisive legislative action in response to ongoing fatal police killings and other violence against Black people across the United States.

The letter has ten pages of signatures.


Civil Rights Coalition Letter on Federal Policing Priorities - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2020/Coalition_Letter_to_House_and_Senate_Leadership_on_Federal_Policing_Priorites_Final_6.1.20.pdf


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

June 1, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference), a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect civil and human rights in the United States and the 386 undersigned organizations, we urge you to take swift and decisive legislative action in response to ongoing fatal police killings and other violence against Black people across our country. Federal statutory reforms are urgently needed on a range of policing issues, including use of force, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, and training. We also respectfully request a meeting with House and Senate Leadership within the week to discuss legislative responses to ongoing police killings against Black people.

Abusive police practices coupled with devastating state-sanctioned violence have exacted systemic brutality and fatality upon Black people since our nation’s founding. The current protests across our country are not new. They are in response to a long cycle of lawlessness against Black people, from our founding to 1968, the year the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered. This cycle includes deadly incidents spanning from Los Angeles in 1992 to Ferguson in 2014. [1] Police have shot and killed more than 1,000 people in the United States over the past year.[2] Moreover, Black people are disproportionately more likely than white people to be killed by police. For too long, the cycle of police brutality and racism has been met with cosmetic tinkering instead of substantive structural change. The current public protests in our cities are a response not only to unjust policing of Black people but are a cry for action to public officials for structural change, writ large.

In recent weeks, the chronic structural issue of police killings against Black people across our country has, again, escalated to a boiling point. The February 23, 2020, death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by a former police officer in a Brunswick, Georgia suburb, sparked public outrage and scrutiny. The more recent police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13, 2020, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 6, 2020, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020, and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL on May 27, 2020 have generated national attention and protest. This spate of cases highlights entrenched, systemic dysfunction that has long plagued police departments and our criminal legal system.[3] Congress must rectify these structural wrongs through legislation before another Black life is needlessly lost.

The recent case of Ahmaud Arbery brings back harrowing memories of Trayvon Martin’s February 26, 2012 death. Like Mr. Martin, Mr. Arbery was young, Black, and unarmed when he was stalked and killed by vigilante actors, presumably based on the color of his skin. Mr. Arbery was fatally shot by a former police officer with impunity. It should not have taken three months and public pressure for the shooter to be arrested and charged. Pervasive lack of accountability by police departments persists in far too many agencies and destroys police legitimacy, and must be addressed by Congress.[4]

The case of Breonna Taylor’s death on March 13 demonstrates the unresolved problem of militarized policing, which we also saw in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown in 2014. Ms. Taylor was fatally shot eight times by police in her Louisville home, after a heavy-handed, military-style raid.[5] Police executed a no-knock warrant even though the suspect the police were looking for was already detained and did not live where Ms. Taylor was killed. This case demonstrates the need for police agencies to prohibit the use of no-knock warrants and institute mandatory de-escalation training for all officers. This case also indicates the need for Congress to end the transfer of military weapons to state and local police agencies through the Department of Defense 1033 program and other such programs.

Despite the passage of more than two months to investigate the circumstances surrounding the police killing of Ms. Taylor, none of the officers involved in her death have been arrested or charged. This situation demonstrates the need for federal prosecutors to act when state law enforcement agencies do not. This also demonstrates the need to update the federal criminal civil rights statute – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. §242 – so prosecutors can bring criminal charges against officers who violate individuals’ civil rights.

George Floyd’s death reopens the wounds that have barely healed after the death of Eric Garner, who was killed after an NYPD officer placed him in an illegal chokehold in July 2014.[6] Mr. Floyd, like Mr. Garner, was killed at the hands of a police officer as other officers sat idly and refused to intervene. In Mr. Floyd’s case, a Minneapolis police officer forced a handcuffed Mr. Floyd into a prone position and pinned him to the ground by driving his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes until Mr. Floyd stopped breathing. Mr. Floyd, to no avail, repeatedly told the officer that he could not breathe.

The case of Tony McDade, a black trans man, highlights the violence that many black trans, queer and gender non-conforming people face daily. In addition, the lack of coverage of his killing demonstrates a harmful disparity of awareness around violence against this community.[7]

It is past time for Congress to address the use of maneuvers that restrict the flow of oxygen or blood to the brain such as chokeholds, knee-to neck, and similar restraints. These and other such techniques make the death or injuries resulting therefrom a violation of 18 U.S.C. §242. Accordingly, we urge members of Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit the use of such maneuvers.

Additionally, too often police killings involve officers with a history of misconduct complaints. For example, last week, the officer who killed Mr. Floyd allegedly had 18 misconduct complaints lodged against him with two resulting in discipline.[8] The officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio reportedly was deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for duty in a previous job:[9] he was ultimately fired from the Cleveland Police Department for lying on his job application.[10] The same officer applied for and was hired to serve in another police department in the state; and he resigned from that job days later.

Police executives need information about the misconduct histories of officers before hiring them, which underscores the need for a national public registry of law enforcement officers that compiles the names of officers who have been terminated or decertified, involved in misconduct, or who have complaints lodged against them. This publicly available database would permit law enforcement executives’ access to necessary data to inform hiring decisions and would allow the public to know the employment histories of the officers who work in their communities.

These recent police killings of residents across the country are part of a longer history of fatal police killings against Black people in America and require Congressional action immediately. Sadly, there is no reliable national accounting of victims of police use of force, a reality that former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey acknowledged in 2015. Congress must ensure compliance with the Death in Custody Reporting Act,[11] which it enacted six years ago, as well as ensure more robust data collection on police-community encounters, including use of force, as it prohibits racial profiling.

We call on Congress to adopt the following legislative measures to ensure that police officers live up to their oath to protect and serve:

Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states through federal funding mechanisms to implement this standard; require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force;

Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation;

Prohibit racial profiling, and require robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated;

Eliminate federal programs that provide military equipment to law enforcement;

Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches;

Change the 18 U.S.C. Sec. 242 mens rea requirement from willfulness to recklessness, permitting prosecutors to successfully hold law enforcement accountable for the deprivation of civil rights and civil liberties;

Develop a national public database that would cover all police agencies in the United States and its territories, similar to the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training’s National Decertification Index,[12] which would compile the names of officers who have had their licenses revoked due to misconduct, including but not limited to domestic violence, sexual violence, assault and harassment, criminal offense against minors, excessive use of force, violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242; perjury, falsifying a police report or planting and destroying evidence, and deadly physical assault; as well as terminations and complaints against the officers; and

End the qualified immunity doctrine which prevents police from being held legally accountable when they break the law. Qualified immunity, a defense that shields officials from being sued, has been interpreted by courts so broadly that it allows officers to engage in unconstitutional acts with impunity.

Now is the time for Congress to pass meaningful police reform legislation. While we appreciate hearings and resolutions, we need comprehensive measures enacted. We need Congress to advance meaningful legislation to protect Black communities from the systemic perils of over policing, police brutality, misconduct, and harassment, and end the impunity with which officers operate in taking the lives of Black people. It is your moral and ethical duty to ensure Black people and communities are free from the harm and threats from law enforcement and to curtail state sanctioned police violence and militarized police responses. We welcome the opportunity for Members of Congress and the principals of our organizations to meet and confirm next steps to advance federal legislation that will save the lives of countless Black people.

Thank you for your consideration. To follow-up on this request or raise any questions, please contact Sakira Cook of The Leadership Conference at [email protected]; Kanya Bennett of the ACLU at [email protected]; Monique Dixon of NAACP LDF at [email protected]; Kristina Roth of Amnesty International USA at [email protected]; or Ebonie Riley of National Action Network at [email protected]; or Christopher Scott of The Open Society Policy Center at [email protected].

Sincerely,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

[SNIP]

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

[SNIP]


[1] Zelizer, J. ( May 30, 2020). It has been 5 Decades Since 1968, and Things are Somehow Worse, CNN It's been five decades since 1968, and things are somehow worse

[2] Database of Police Shooting since 2015. (May 29, 2020). Fatal Force, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/

[3] The Sentencing Project. (Apr. 19, 2018). UN Report on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System Available at, Report to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System | The Sentencing Project

[4] Muhammad, K. (July 26, 2019). Why police accountability Remains Out of Reach, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/07/26/why-police-accountability-remains-out-reach/. This article highlights the prosecutorial decisions not to indict police because of impenetrable qualified immunity for police and acquittals based on racism. The cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher and Philando Castile are examples of this dynamic.

[4] Southall, A. (Aug. 8, 2019). Officer in ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Chokehold Was ‘Untruthful,’ Judge Says, NY Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/nyregion/daniel-pantaleo-eric-garner-chokehold.html

[5] See, e.g., American Civil Liberties Union. (2014). War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization Of American Police, at 2. https://www.aclu.org/report/war-comes-home-excessive-militarization-american-police: “[T]he use of hyper-aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties.”

[7] Thompson, L. (May 29, 2020). The Police Killing You Probably Didn’t Hear About This Week, Mother Jones, https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/05/tony-mcdade-tallahassee-florida-police-shooting-death/

[8] Adone, D., Silberman, H., Alonso, M. (May 29, 2020). The Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck had 18 previous complaints against him, police department says, CNN,


[9] (Dec. 4, 2014). Officer Who Killed Tamir Rice Found Unfit in Previous Job, NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-who-killed-tamir-rice-found-unfit-previous-police-job-n261111

[10] Burke, M. (Oct. 11, 2018). Officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice Quits Ohio Police Department Days After He was Hired, NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-who-fatally-shot-tamir-rice-quits-ohio-police-department-n919046

[11] Public Law 113 – 242 – Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013

[12] See e.g., The President’s 21st Century Task Force report at 2.15, at https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf.


* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 
Last edited:

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
The Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins June 1, 2020 letter urging Congress to take swift and decisive legislative action in response to ongoing fatal police killings and other violence against Black people across the United States.

The letter has ten pages of signatures.


Civil Rights Coalition Letter on Federal Policing Priorities - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2020/Coalition_Letter_to_House_and_Senate_Leadership_on_Federal_Policing_Priorites_Final_6.1.20.pdf


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

June 1, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference), a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect civil and human rights in the United States and the 386 undersigned organizations, we urge you to take swift and decisive legislative action in response to ongoing fatal police killings and other violence against Black people across our country. Federal statutory reforms are urgently needed on a range of policing issues, including use of force, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, and training. We also respectfully request a meeting with House and Senate Leadership within the week to discuss legislative responses to ongoing police killings against Black people.

Abusive police practices coupled with devastating state-sanctioned violence have exacted systemic brutality and fatality upon Black people since our nation’s founding. The current protests across our country are not new. They are in response to a long cycle of lawlessness against Black people, from our founding to 1968, the year the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered. This cycle includes deadly incidents spanning from Los Angeles in 1992 to Ferguson in 2014. [1] Police have shot and killed more than 1,000 people in the United States over the past year.[2] Moreover, Black people are disproportionately more likely than white people to be killed by police. For too long, the cycle of police brutality and racism has been met with cosmetic tinkering instead of substantive structural change. The current public protests in our cities are a response not only to unjust policing of Black people but are a cry for action to public officials for structural change, writ large.

In recent weeks, the chronic structural issue of police killings against Black people across our country has, again, escalated to a boiling point. The February 23, 2020, death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by a former police officer in a Brunswick, Georgia suburb, sparked public outrage and scrutiny. The more recent police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13, 2020, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 6, 2020, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020, and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL on May 27, 2020 have generated national attention and protest. This spate of cases highlights entrenched, systemic dysfunction that has long plagued police departments and our criminal legal system.[3] Congress must rectify these structural wrongs through legislation before another Black life is needlessly lost.

The recent case of Ahmaud Arbery brings back harrowing memories of Trayvon Martin’s February 26, 2012 death. Like Mr. Martin, Mr. Arbery was young, Black, and unarmed when he was stalked and killed by vigilante actors, presumably based on the color of his skin. Mr. Arbery was fatally shot by a former police officer with impunity. It should not have taken three months and public pressure for the shooter to be arrested and charged. Pervasive lack of accountability by police departments persists in far too many agencies and destroys police legitimacy, and must be addressed by Congress.[4]

The case of Breonna Taylor’s death on March 13 demonstrates the unresolved problem of militarized policing, which we also saw in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown in 2014. Ms. Taylor was fatally shot eight times by police in her Louisville home, after a heavy-handed, military-style raid.[5] Police executed a no-knock warrant even though the suspect the police were looking for was already detained and did not live where Ms. Taylor was killed. This case demonstrates the need for police agencies to prohibit the use of no-knock warrants and institute mandatory de-escalation training for all officers. This case also indicates the need for Congress to end the transfer of military weapons to state and local police agencies through the Department of Defense 1033 program and other such programs.

Despite the passage of more than two months to investigate the circumstances surrounding the police killing of Ms. Taylor, none of the officers involved in her death have been arrested or charged. This situation demonstrates the need for federal prosecutors to act when state law enforcement agencies do not. This also demonstrates the need to update the federal criminal civil rights statute – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. §242 – so prosecutors can bring criminal charges against officers who violate individuals’ civil rights.

George Floyd’s death reopens the wounds that have barely healed after the death of Eric Garner, who was killed after an NYPD officer placed him in an illegal chokehold in July 2014.[6] Mr. Floyd, like Mr. Garner, was killed at the hands of a police officer as other officers sat idly and refused to intervene. In Mr. Floyd’s case, a Minneapolis police officer forced a handcuffed Mr. Floyd into a prone position and pinned him to the ground by driving his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes until Mr. Floyd stopped breathing. Mr. Floyd, to no avail, repeatedly told the officer that he could not breathe.

The case of Tony McDade, a black trans man, highlights the violence that many black trans, queer and gender non-conforming people face daily. In addition, the lack of coverage of his killing demonstrates a harmful disparity of awareness around violence against this community.[7]

It is past time for Congress to address the use of maneuvers that restrict the flow of oxygen or blood to the brain such as chokeholds, knee-to neck, and similar restraints. These and other such techniques make the death or injuries resulting therefrom a violation of 18 U.S.C. §242. Accordingly, we urge members of Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit the use of such maneuvers.

Additionally, too often police killings involve officers with a history of misconduct complaints. For example, last week, the officer who killed Mr. Floyd allegedly had 18 misconduct complaints lodged against him with two resulting in discipline.[8] The officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio reportedly was deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for duty in a previous job:[9] he was ultimately fired from the Cleveland Police Department for lying on his job application.[10] The same officer applied for and was hired to serve in another police department in the state; and he resigned from that job days later.

Police executives need information about the misconduct histories of officers before hiring them, which underscores the need for a national public registry of law enforcement officers that compiles the names of officers who have been terminated or decertified, involved in misconduct, or who have complaints lodged against them. This publicly available database would permit law enforcement executives’ access to necessary data to inform hiring decisions and would allow the public to know the employment histories of the officers who work in their communities.

These recent police killings of residents across the country are part of a longer history of fatal police killings against Black people in America and require Congressional action immediately. Sadly, there is no reliable national accounting of victims of police use of force, a reality that former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey acknowledged in 2015. Congress must ensure compliance with the Death in Custody Reporting Act,[11] which it enacted six years ago, as well as ensure more robust data collection on police-community encounters, including use of force, as it prohibits racial profiling.

We call on Congress to adopt the following legislative measures to ensure that police officers live up to their oath to protect and serve:

Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states through federal funding mechanisms to implement this standard; require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force;

Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation;

Prohibit racial profiling, and require robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated;

Eliminate federal programs that provide military equipment to law enforcement;

Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches;

Change the 18 U.S.C. Sec. 242 mens rea requirement from willfulness to recklessness, permitting prosecutors to successfully hold law enforcement accountable for the deprivation of civil rights and civil liberties;

Develop a national public database that would cover all police agencies in the United States and its territories, similar to the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training’s National Decertification Index,[12] which would compile the names of officers who have had their licenses revoked due to misconduct, including but not limited to domestic violence, sexual violence, assault and harassment, criminal offense against minors, excessive use of force, violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242; perjury, falsifying a police report or planting and destroying evidence, and deadly physical assault; as well as terminations and complaints against the officers; and

End the qualified immunity doctrine which prevents police from being held legally accountable when they break the law. Qualified immunity, a defense that shields officials from being sued, has been interpreted by courts so broadly that it allows officers to engage in unconstitutional acts with impunity.

Now is the time for Congress to pass meaningful police reform legislation. While we appreciate hearings and resolutions, we need comprehensive measures enacted. We need Congress to advance meaningful legislation to protect Black communities from the systemic perils of over policing, police brutality, misconduct, and harassment, and end the impunity with which officers operate in taking the lives of Black people. It is your moral and ethical duty to ensure Black people and communities are free from the harm and threats from law enforcement and to curtail state sanctioned police violence and militarized police responses. We welcome the opportunity for Members of Congress and the principals of our organizations to meet and confirm next steps to advance federal legislation that will save the lives of countless Black people.

Thank you for your consideration. To follow-up on this request or raise any questions, please contact Sakira Cook of The Leadership Conference at [email protected]; Kanya Bennett of the ACLU at [email protected]; Monique Dixon of NAACP LDF at [email protected]; Kristina Roth of Amnesty International USA at [email protected]; or Ebonie Riley of National Action Network at [email protected]; or Christopher Scott of The Open Society Policy Center at [email protected].

Sincerely,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

[SNIP]

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

[SNIP]


[1] Zelizer, J. ( May 30, 2020). It has been 5 Decades Since 1968, and Things are Somehow Worse, CNN It's been five decades since 1968, and things are somehow worse

[2] Database of Police Shooting since 2015. (May 29, 2020). Fatal Force, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/

[3] The Sentencing Project. (Apr. 19, 2018). UN Report on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System Available at, Report to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System | The Sentencing Project

[4] Muhammad, K. (July 26, 2019). Why police accountability Remains Out of Reach, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/07/26/why-police-accountability-remains-out-reach/. This article highlights the prosecutorial decisions not to indict police because of impenetrable qualified immunity for police and acquittals based on racism. The cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher and Philando Castile are examples of this dynamic.

[4] Southall, A. (Aug. 8, 2019). Officer in ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Chokehold Was ‘Untruthful,’ Judge Says, NY Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/nyregion/daniel-pantaleo-eric-garner-chokehold.html

[5] See, e.g., American Civil Liberties Union. (2014). War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization Of American Police, at 2. https://www.aclu.org/report/war-comes-home-excessive-militarization-american-police: “[T]he use of hyper-aggressive tools and tactics results in tragedy for civilians and police officers, escalates the risk of needless violence, destroys property, and undermines individual liberties.”

[7] Thompson, L. (May 29, 2020). The Police Killing You Probably Didn’t Hear About This Week, Mother Jones, https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/05/tony-mcdade-tallahassee-florida-police-shooting-death/

[8] Adone, D., Silberman, H., Alonso, M. (May 29, 2020). The Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck had 18 previous complaints against him, police department says, CNN,


[9] (Dec. 4, 2014). Officer Who Killed Tamir Rice Found Unfit in Previous Job, NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-who-killed-tamir-rice-found-unfit-previous-police-job-n261111

[10] Burke, M. (Oct. 11, 2018). Officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice Quits Ohio Police Department Days After He was Hired, NBC, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-who-fatally-shot-tamir-rice-quits-ohio-police-department-n919046

[11] Public Law 113 – 242 – Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013

[12] See e.g., The President’s 21st Century Task Force report at 2.15, at https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf.


* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
I posted the underlying story earlier. Here are my take and tweet.

Scientology joins letter calling for restrictions on police following deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed, George Floyd and Tony McDade.

 
Last edited:

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins letter supporting the PEACE Act, H.R. 4359, The Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone Act of 2019.


https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/PEACE-Act-Org-sign-on-letter-Final.pdf


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

June 8, 2020

RE: Coalition Supports H.R. 4359, The Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone Act of 2019

Dear Representative,

On behalf of the undersigned 117 civil and human rights organizations and faith-based organizations, we write to urge you to cosponsor and support H.R. 4359, the Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone or “PEACE Act” of 2019, 1 to raise the standards for use of force by law enforcement officers. The utmost obligation of police is to respect and preserve human life.

Our laws fail to reflect this principle and must be changed.

Every year, nearly 1,000 people are killed by police in the US. Last year was no exception: the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database cites that 1,004 people were shot and killed by police in 2019. Among these killings, Black and Latinx people are overrepresented, with Black people killed at more than twice the rate of white people 2.

Nine states and Washington, D.C. have no statutory law on police use of lethal force, leaving them to default to the standard set by U.S. Supreme Court opinions. In the other 41 states with use of lethal force laws, the standards are far too permissive and vary greatly. Laws range from nine states that authorize police use of deadly force to suppress a riot to a mere eight that require law enforcement to give warning “when feasible” before lethal force is used. 3

A person’s right to survive an interaction with law enforcement should not be dependent on where they live. A more restrictive national standard is needed to limit law enforcement use of force to prevent families from being devastated by this violence and provide for accountability when police use of force is excessive or unlawful.

In September 2019, Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) and William Lacy Clay (MO-01) introduced the PEACE Act, which would bar federal law enforcement from using deadly force unless necessary as a last resort – to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury, and only after reasonable alternatives have been exhausted. This pushes beyond any state with a law addressing police use of force 4 and the current federal standard.

Too often we see footage of officers employing deadly force against unarmed or fleeing people who do not appear to pose an imminent threat to the life of the officer or others. Modeled after the California Act to Save Lives, 5 the PEACE Act also requires consideration of the actions of the individual and officer leading up to a use of force encounter, to address these heart-wrenching

1 H.R. 4359, 116th Cong.
2 “Fatal Force: Police Shootings Database.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 22 Jan. 2020,
www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/ . We must rely on the Washington Post’s database because there is no reliable national census of police-involved shootings.

Although the Death in Custody Reporting Act requires collection of data this process has been delayed due to lack of guidance from the administration and slow or no responses from law enforcement agencies. See, https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/e1901.pdf.

3 Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States. Amnesty International USA, June 2015, www.amnestyusa.org/files/aiusa_deadlyforcereportjune2015.pdf.

4 Amnesty International USA, Deadly Force Report found that no US state has a use of lethal force law for law enforcement that reserves deadly as a last resort.

5 California Act to Save Lives, AB 392, Chapter170 (2019), amending California Penal Code §§196 & 835(a). killings. Under the PEACE Act, states that receive federal funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program 6 must enact a state use of force law consistent with the standards outlined in this legislation.

Protecting the public and maintaining officer safety are not at odds with one another. Police departments that have put more restrictive use of force policies in place have seen a decrease of people killed without risking officer safety and only serving to gain public trust. In 2011, the Seattle Police Department, under a consent decree with the Department of Justice, restricted its department policy on use of force given recommendations emphasizing de-escalation. A 2017 Seattle Police Monitor report7 found that following implementation, police use of force decreased, as did crime, without an increase in officer injury.

For the above reasons, we urge you to join the undersigned organizations in supporting the PEACE Act by cosponsoring the bill. It is past time for the law to require officers to reserve force as a last resort rather than a first response.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact, Krissy Roth of Amnesty International USA at [email protected]; or Kanya Bennett of the ACLU at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Ciara Hamilton, first Cousin of Diante "Butchie" Yarber, killed by Barstow Police in 2018

Annalesa Thomas, Mother of Leonard Thomas killed by Pierce County Metro SWAT in 2013

Uncle Bobby X, Uncle of Oscar Grant, killed by BART police in 2009

Amnesty International USA
Al Otro Lado
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Alliance for a Healthy Washington
Alliance for Boys and Men of Color
Alliance of Baptists
Ameinu
American Civil Liberties Union
American Friends Service Committee
Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Avodah
Aytzim
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Best Practices Policy Project
6 34 U.S.C. 10151 et seq.
7 Ninth Systemic Assessment: Use of Force . Seattle Police Monitor , Apr. 2017, static1.squarespace.com/static/5425b9f0e4b0d66352331e0e/t/58e6a753ff7c50ebbad126f8/1491511130661/Ninth Systemic Assessment--Use of Force--FINAL.pdf.

Page 2 of 5

Black and Pink

CA Families United 4 Justice
California Association of Student Councils
California Primary Care Association
California Public Defender’s Association
Californians for Justice
Campaign for Youth Justice
Campaign Zero
Campesinos Sin Fronteras
Center for Disability Rights
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Desiree Alliance
Destiny Arts Center
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Drug Policy Alliance
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities
Eshel
Families United 4 Justice
Family Violence Law Center
Fresno Barrios Unidos
Friends Committee on Legislation of California
Friends Committee on National Legislation
From Prison Cells To PhD
Habonim Dror North America
Innocence Project
Japanese American Citizens League
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Labor Committee
John Burton Advocates for Youth
Justice Revival
Justice Roundtable
Keshet
Lambda Legal
Latino Coalition for a Healthy CA
LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Page 3 of 5


Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Los Angeles Black Worker Center
Love Not Blood Campaign
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Mothers Against Police Brutality
Mothers for Police Accountability
Muslim Advocates
NAACP
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association of Social Workers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Jewish Women California
National Education Association
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Urban League
National Youth Employment Coalition
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Next Steps Washington
Open Society Policy Center
PA Council of Churches
PICO California
PolicyLink
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Office of Public Witness
Reconstructing Judaism
Silicon Valley De-Bug
SJSU Human Rights Institute
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Southern Border Communities Coalition
Southern Center for Human Rights
Southern Echo Inc.
SparkAction
Stop Coalition
Strategies for Youth
The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color
The Black Sex Worker Collective

Page 4 of 5

The Center for HIV Law and Policy

The Justice Collaborative
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Taifa Group
The Vallejo Peace Project
Tivnu: Building Justice
TRANScending Barriers Atlanta
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
UnidosUS
Union for Reform Judaism
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Veterans For Peace
VOCAL-WA
Washington Office on Latin America
Witness at the Border
Workers Center of Central New York
Youth ALIVE!

Page 5 of 5

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 

Karakorum

The most just, the most merciful, the most ethical
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins letter supporting the PEACE Act, H.R. 4359, The Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone Act of 2019.


https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/PEACE-Act-Org-sign-on-letter-Final.pdf


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

June 8, 2020

RE: Coalition Supports H.R. 4359, The Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone Act of 2019

Dear Representative,

On behalf of the undersigned 117 civil and human rights organizations and faith-based organizations, we write to urge you to cosponsor and support H.R. 4359, the Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone or “PEACE Act” of 2019, 1 to raise the standards for use of force by law enforcement officers. The utmost obligation of police is to respect and preserve human life.

Our laws fail to reflect this principle and must be changed.

Every year, nearly 1,000 people are killed by police in the US. Last year was no exception: the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database cites that 1,004 people were shot and killed by police in 2019. Among these killings, Black and Latinx people are overrepresented, with Black people killed at more than twice the rate of white people 2.

Nine states and Washington, D.C. have no statutory law on police use of lethal force, leaving them to default to the standard set by U.S. Supreme Court opinions. In the other 41 states with use of lethal force laws, the standards are far too permissive and vary greatly. Laws range from nine states that authorize police use of deadly force to suppress a riot to a mere eight that require law enforcement to give warning “when feasible” before lethal force is used. 3

A person’s right to survive an interaction with law enforcement should not be dependent on where they live. A more restrictive national standard is needed to limit law enforcement use of force to prevent families from being devastated by this violence and provide for accountability when police use of force is excessive or unlawful.

In September 2019, Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) and William Lacy Clay (MO-01) introduced the PEACE Act, which would bar federal law enforcement from using deadly force unless necessary as a last resort – to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury, and only after reasonable alternatives have been exhausted. This pushes beyond any state with a law addressing police use of force 4 and the current federal standard.

Too often we see footage of officers employing deadly force against unarmed or fleeing people who do not appear to pose an imminent threat to the life of the officer or others. Modeled after the California Act to Save Lives, 5 the PEACE Act also requires consideration of the actions of the individual and officer leading up to a use of force encounter, to address these heart-wrenching

1 H.R. 4359, 116th Cong.
2 “Fatal Force: Police Shootings Database.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 22 Jan. 2020,
www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/ . We must rely on the Washington Post’s database because there is no reliable national census of police-involved shootings.

Although the Death in Custody Reporting Act requires collection of data this process has been delayed due to lack of guidance from the administration and slow or no responses from law enforcement agencies. See, https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/e1901.pdf.

3 Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States. Amnesty International USA, June 2015, www.amnestyusa.org/files/aiusa_deadlyforcereportjune2015.pdf.

4 Amnesty International USA, Deadly Force Report found that no US state has a use of lethal force law for law enforcement that reserves deadly as a last resort.

5 California Act to Save Lives, AB 392, Chapter170 (2019), amending California Penal Code §§196 & 835(a). killings. Under the PEACE Act, states that receive federal funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program 6 must enact a state use of force law consistent with the standards outlined in this legislation.

Protecting the public and maintaining officer safety are not at odds with one another. Police departments that have put more restrictive use of force policies in place have seen a decrease of people killed without risking officer safety and only serving to gain public trust. In 2011, the Seattle Police Department, under a consent decree with the Department of Justice, restricted its department policy on use of force given recommendations emphasizing de-escalation. A 2017 Seattle Police Monitor report7 found that following implementation, police use of force decreased, as did crime, without an increase in officer injury.

For the above reasons, we urge you to join the undersigned organizations in supporting the PEACE Act by cosponsoring the bill. It is past time for the law to require officers to reserve force as a last resort rather than a first response.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact, Krissy Roth of Amnesty International USA at [email protected]; or Kanya Bennett of the ACLU at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Ciara Hamilton, first Cousin of Diante "Butchie" Yarber, killed by Barstow Police in 2018

Annalesa Thomas, Mother of Leonard Thomas killed by Pierce County Metro SWAT in 2013

Uncle Bobby X, Uncle of Oscar Grant, killed by BART police in 2009

Amnesty International USA
Al Otro Lado
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Alliance for a Healthy Washington
Alliance for Boys and Men of Color
Alliance of Baptists
Ameinu
American Civil Liberties Union
American Friends Service Committee
Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Avodah
Aytzim
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Best Practices Policy Project
6 34 U.S.C. 10151 et seq.
7 Ninth Systemic Assessment: Use of Force . Seattle Police Monitor , Apr. 2017, static1.squarespace.com/static/5425b9f0e4b0d66352331e0e/t/58e6a753ff7c50ebbad126f8/1491511130661/Ninth Systemic Assessment--Use of Force--FINAL.pdf.

Page 2 of 5

Black and Pink

CA Families United 4 Justice
California Association of Student Councils
California Primary Care Association
California Public Defender’s Association
Californians for Justice
Campaign for Youth Justice
Campaign Zero
Campesinos Sin Fronteras
Center for Disability Rights
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office
Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Desiree Alliance
Destiny Arts Center
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Drug Policy Alliance
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities
Eshel
Families United 4 Justice
Family Violence Law Center
Fresno Barrios Unidos
Friends Committee on Legislation of California
Friends Committee on National Legislation
From Prison Cells To PhD
Habonim Dror North America
Innocence Project
Japanese American Citizens League
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Labor Committee
John Burton Advocates for Youth
Justice Revival
Justice Roundtable
Keshet
Lambda Legal
Latino Coalition for a Healthy CA
LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Page 3 of 5


Law Enforcement Action Partnership

Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Los Angeles Black Worker Center
Love Not Blood Campaign
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Mothers Against Police Brutality
Mothers for Police Accountability
Muslim Advocates
NAACP
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association of Social Workers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Jewish Women California
National Education Association
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Urban League
National Youth Employment Coalition
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Next Steps Washington
Open Society Policy Center
PA Council of Churches
PICO California
PolicyLink
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Office of Public Witness
Reconstructing Judaism
Silicon Valley De-Bug
SJSU Human Rights Institute
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Southern Border Communities Coalition
Southern Center for Human Rights
Southern Echo Inc.
SparkAction
Stop Coalition
Strategies for Youth
The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color
The Black Sex Worker Collective

Page 4 of 5

The Center for HIV Law and Policy

The Justice Collaborative
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Taifa Group
The Vallejo Peace Project
Tivnu: Building Justice
TRANScending Barriers Atlanta
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
UnidosUS
Union for Reform Judaism
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Veterans For Peace
VOCAL-WA
Washington Office on Latin America
Witness at the Border
Workers Center of Central New York
Youth ALIVE!

Page 5 of 5

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
So Scientology has now sided with, amongst others, "The Black Sex Worker Collective" or the "National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund"? Gee, I'm sure that's one thing they will not advertise to public scientologists.
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins letters to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, and to United States Ambassador to Thailand Michael G. DeSombre calling for the release of refugees and asylum seekers in the Immigration Detention Centers in Thailand for protection against COVID-19.


Urgent call for COVID-19 response for Refugees and Asylum Seekers | Human Rights Watch


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

Urgent call for COVID-19 response for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Joint Letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

Your Excellency,

We represent several different organizations of various backgrounds that support refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand and beyond, within the framework of international human rights and refugee law including state obligations under international human rights treaties. We appreciate Thailand’s continued willingness to host many asylum seekers and refugees from around the world and cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the international community to enable them to seek protection through third country resettlement. However, we remain greatly concerned by the overcrowded conditions in the Immigration Detention Centers (IDCs) where numerous refugees and asylum seekers are being detained.

In light of the paramount need to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we respectfully ask the Royal Thai Government to release the refugees and asylum seekers who are held in these cramped Immigration Detention Centers in Thailand in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

This sense of urgency is shared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the World Health Organization, which have released a joint statement to member states on the need to protect refugees and migrants during the COVID-19 outbreak. They strongly urge states to release “without delay” any migrants and refugees being held in detention centers and to release migrant children and their families “immediately.”[1]

Concern for the health and safety of refugees and asylum seekers detained in Thailand has become particularly urgent with the recent announcement that 65 of the 115 detainees in the Songkhla Immigration Detention Center have tested positive with the virus – the diagnoses came about two weeks after a visit to the center by an immigration officer who later tested positive – and that the remaining detainees are also at risk.

We therefore respectfully pose three questions to the Royal Thai Government:

What is being done to secure the protection of persons, and particularly of asylum seekers and refugees, held in the IDCs from becoming infected with the virus?

What health checks and other health services are being provided?

Will the Royal Thai Government consider the immediate release of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers from the IDCs? A number of those being held in the IDCs suffer from underlying health issues, often because of torture and other traumatic experiences to which they were subjected in their home countries.

Understanding the overriding public concern to protect the health of everyone in Thailand, we respectfully urge that once a decision to release has been made, the Royal Thai Government should take measures to provide testing, information about the pandemic, and other appropriate safeguards for those released from immigration detention.

We respectfully request that you promptly act on this grave matter and immediately release all refugees and asylum seekers held at the IDCs, not only to protect their own health and safety but also to promote the health and prosperity of Thailand and all within its borders.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.



Sincerely,



Human Rights Watch

Fortify Rights

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Boat People SOS – USA Jubilee Campaign

People Serving People Foundation People’s Empowerment Foundation

Stefanus Alliance International – Norway

ALTSEAN-Burma

Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam

Christian Freedom International

Institute on Religion and Democracy – USA

Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience – France

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office (USA)

Diocese of the Eastern US, Independent Old Catholic Church, Office of Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Global Engagement

Friends of Falun Gong Minaret Foundation – USA

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization – Belgium Vietnam Veterans for Factual History

Montagnards Stand For Justice

Human Rights and Justice for Indigenous People of Vietnam

Minh Van Foundation – USA

Andy Schaeppi, Vice President, Dienst am Nächsten - Service to the Neighbor Switzerland

Dr. Jianli Yang, Founder and President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Faith J. H. McDonnell, Co-leader, Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Suffering Church Network United Kingdom

Andrew Khoo, Advocate and Solicitor, High Court of Malaya, Malaysia

Rev. Joseph K. Grieboski, Senior Fellow, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute

Shariq Abdul Ghani, Director, Minaret Foundation

Scott Morgan, President, Red Eagle Enterprises

Lauren Homer, President, Law and Liberty International

Dr. Grant A. McClure, Commander, Counterparts – Vietnam Veterans' Association

Thomas W. Turney, US. Army Special Forces Retired

April Luong, Special Dementia Carer – Hammond Care Caulfied



[1] International Organization for Migration, The Rights and Health of Refugees, Migrants and Stateless Must be Protected in COVID-19 Response - OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO - Joint Press Release, 31 31 March 2020, available at: https://www.iom.int/news/rights-and-health-refugees-migrants-and-stateless-must-be-protected-covid- 19-response.

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *


Call for the Release of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Immigration Detention Centers in Thailand for protection against COVID-19 | Human Rights Watch


* * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * *

Call for the Release of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Immigration Detention Centers in Thailand for protection against COVID-19

Joint Letter to United States Ambassador to Thailand Michael G. DeSombre

Dear Ambassador DeSombre,

We are a diverse group of individuals and organizations who share a common goal to promote and protect religious freedom around the world within the framework of international human rights and refugee law including state obligations under international human rights treaties. A number of us work with refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand.

We are aware of the good cooperation between the United States and Thailand, and particularly of the significant role the US has played in supporting Thailand in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, we note the generous donation of over $18 million toward emergency health and humanitarian assistance to Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries.

However, these financial efforts are unlikely to prove effective unless all groups in society are protected. As you know, the detained population in the Immigration Detention Centers in Thailand includes many refugees and asylum seekers. A number of them are survivors of religious persecution, including Hmong and Montagnard Christians from Vietnam, Christians and Ahmadi Muslims from Pakistan, and members of other religious groups that are severely persecuted in their home countries.

Currently there are no official statistics on the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers being held in the cramped and squalid conditions of Thailand’s Immigration Detention Centers. These conditions make social distancing impossible and the spread of the virus far more likely. There are typically no beds, and detainees share the floor. The government has recently acknowledged that 65 of the 115 detainees in the Songkhla Immigration Detention Center have tested positive with the virus – the diagnoses came about two weeks after a visit to the center by an immigration officer who later tested positive – and that the remaining detainees are also at risk.

As you know, under international law immigration detention may only be applied as an exceptional measure of last resort, for the shortest period, and only if justified by a legitimate purpose. Detention that is not pursued for a legitimate purpose is considered arbitrary.[1]

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and because of the excellent relationship between the United States and Thailand, we ask that you urge the Royal Thai Government to immediately release, following proper safeguards, the refugees and asylum seekers held in Immigration Detention Centers in Thailand. We also ask that you inquire into how the Thai authorities are working to limit the spread of the disease among the refugee and asylum seeker population in Thailand, especially those being held in the Immigration Detention Centers. We hope you will recommend that the Royal Thai Government, after deciding to release refugees and asylum seekers, should provide testing, information about the pandemic, and other appropriate safeguards for those released from immigration detention.

Releasing all refugees and asylum seekers in the Immigration Detention Centers is not only a humanitarian gesture that mitigates the serious risks to the health and safety of immigration detainees, but will also promote the health and well-being of the people of Thailand by curbing the spread of the pandemic.

We are deeply grateful for any and all efforts you and the United States Embassy can undertake for this important humanitarian initiative.



Sincerely,

Human Rights Watch

Fortify Rights

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Boat People SOS – USA

Jubilee Campaign

People Serving People Foundation

People’s Empowerment Foundation

Stefanus Alliance International – Norway

ALTSEAN-Burma

Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam

Christian Freedom International

Institute on Religion and Democracy – USA

Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience – France

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office (USA)

Diocese of the Eastern US, Independent Old Catholic Church, Office of Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Global Engagement

Friends of Falun Gong Minaret Foundation – USA

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization – Belgium Vietnam Veterans for Factual History

Montagnards Stand For Justice

Human Rights and Justice for Indigenous People of Vietnam

Minh Van Foundation – USA

Andy Schaeppi, Vice President, Dienst am Nächsten - Service to the Neighbor Switzerland

Dr. Jianli Yang, Founder and President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Faith J. H. McDonnell, Co-leader, Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Suffering Church Network United Kingdom

Andrew Khoo, Advocate and Solicitor, High Court of Malaya, Malaysia

Rev. Joseph K. Grieboski, Senior Fellow, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute

Shariq Abdul Ghani, Director, Minaret Foundation

Scott Morgan, President, Red Eagle Enterprises

Lauren Homer, President, Law and Liberty International

Dr. Grant A. McClure, Commander, Counterparts – Vietnam Veterans' Association

Thomas W. Turney, US. Army Special Forces Retired

April Luong, Special Dementia Carer – Hammond Care Caulfied

---



[1] See United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Detention Guidelines, Guideline 4, UNHCR Detention Guidelines.



* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 
Last edited:

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins multi-faith letter to Prime Minister Khan Calling for the release of prisoners of conscience in Pakistan during COVID-19.

Multi-Faith Letter to Prime Minister Khan Calling for the Release of Prisoners of Conscience in Pakistan during COVID-19

* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

The Honorable Prime Minister Imran Khan
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, G-5/2,
Islamabad, Pakistan

Cc:
The Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Foreign Office Building
Constitution Avenue,
Islamabad, Pakistan

22 May, 2020

Your Excellency, 

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, come together from a myriad of religious, ethnic, and political backgrounds to collaborate on issues regarding international religious freedom and human rights. With deepest respect for your influential position as Prime Minister of Pakistan, we would like to collectively call on you to take measures to release prisoners throughout the country in order to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus through the prison and public communities. We would also like to express our appreciation for your efforts so far to tackle the coronavirus by publicly discouraging your citizens from attending large gatherings, considering a nation-wide lockdown and, as of recently, using intelligence technology to track the spread of the virus and individuals who may be at increased risk of spreading or contracting the disease. Your swift efforts are very much necessary.

We seek your humanitarian intervention. We would like to draw to your attention the case of Pakistani Christian couple Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, who have remained in prison since 2014 over questionable charges. In 2013, Shagufta and Shafqat were accused by a Muslim leader of sending him blasphemous texts written in English from a phone registered in Shagufta’s name. Despite some questionable case details, such as that the couple are illiterate in Urdu, let alone English, and therefore would be unable to send such texts, and the fact that the SIM card of said phone has been unrecoverable, the couple was charged with “insulting the Qur’an” and “insulting the Prophet” and sentenced to death in April of 2014.

Since their sentencing, the couple has been separated and held in separate prisons, one in Multan and one in Faisalabad, where they have remained for the past five years. Both Shagufta and Shafqat have expressed the depression they face in not being with their children. In an attempt to be absolved of the false charges posed against them, the couple appealed their sentences, and their final verdict was to be read at the Lahore High Court on April 8, 2020. However, due to the untimely outbreak and swift spread of COVID-19, their final decision has been postponed until the coronavirus has been tackled in Pakistan. We find that this is unreasonable, considering that the judge presiding over the case has expressed that the couple’s charges are “dubious” and the couple’s lawyer, Saif ul-Malook, has expressed that he finds it extremely likely that the court will make a favorable decision for Shagufta and Shafqat.

We ask that you consider the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel and release them on humanitarian grounds considering that (1) they were likely to be absolved given the questionable and unprovable nature of their accusations, and (2) that remaining in prison places them at a great risk of contracting COVID-19, which has already been confirmed in some prisons throughout Punjab Province. It is essential to note that Shafqat has remained paralyzed since 2004, when an accident caused him to fracture his spine. This couple are older individuals, and it is a well-known fact that the deadly coronavirus takes advantage of individuals whose health is already compromised due to pre-existing medical conditions. It is unacceptable that Shafqat remains vulnerable in prison without proper medical care when he already suffers from a major disability that would impair his ability to fight off the virus if he should contract it.

While we hope that you will pay particular attention to the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, we also ask that you take into consideration the mass populations within Pakistani prisons and detention facilities some of whom are particularly vulnerable on account of preexisting conditions. In a recent government publication, it was estimated that the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan could reach 50,000 by April 25th, and recent news reports reveal that the spread has already infiltrated some prison locations. We urge you to follow in the footsteps of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose government has already preemptively released some 85,000 prisoners temporarily to prevent the overcrowded prisons from becoming saturated with thousands more coronavirus that could be prevented. Specific attention should be focused on the elderly, disabled, unhealthy, and vulnerable.

We also ask that you consider prisoners of conscience at this time. Should you choose to take measures to release prisoners, we ask that you consider their cases and release permanently and unconditionally such individuals who have been sentenced and imprisoned (1) on false charges, (2) because of their religious practice, worship, and/or teaching, and (3) for their political opinions.

With greatest appreciation for your endeavors,

Organizations:

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Center for Pluralism

Christian Freedom International

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience

Family Research Council

Independent Old Catholic Church Office of Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Global Engagement

Institute for Global Engagement

Jubilee Campaign

LYN Community

Reach Out International

The Salt & Light Council

Individuals:

Fr. John Anderson
St. Nicholas Freedom Group

Dr. Fabong Jemchang Yildam
Chairman
Plateau State Youth Council

Farahnaz Ispahani
Global Fellow
Woodrow Wilson Center
Former Member
National Assembly of Pakistan

Dede Laugesen
Executive Director
Save the Persecuted Christians

Scott Morgan
President
Red Eagle Enterprises

Rev. Joseph K. Grieboski
Senior Fellow
The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute

William Brown
Christian Activist Network of New England

Lela Gilbert
Senior Fellow
International Religious Freedom
Family Research Council

Paul Pickern
All Pro Pastors

Nina Shea
Director
Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom

Elizabeth Yore
Attorney
YoreChildren

Dr. S. Bryan Hickox
President & CEO
Bryan Hickox Pictures, Inc.

Pastor Jonathan Friedt
Believers’ Fellowship Church

Gunnery Sergeant Jessie Jane Duff (ret)
Co-Chairman Advisory Board Veterans for Trump
Military Advisor Committee on the Present Danger China

Mike Slotznick
The America Team for Displaced Eritreans

Dran Reese
President
The Salt & Light Council

Linda Harvey
President
Mission America

Pastor Greg Young
Host
Nationally Syndicated Radio Show
Chosen Generation Radio

Kevin Freeman
Founder
NSIC Institute

Dr. Oluwasayo Ajiboye
Mission Africa International
Rev. Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso
Patmos Institute

Anwar Mehmood
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Dr. Mike Mohamed Ghouse
Center for Pluralism

Kelly Yaegermann

Dr. Jianli Yang
Founder and President
Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ilyas
Chairman
International Dialogue Research & Awareness Centre Islamabad Pakistan

Lauren B. Homer
Attorney At Law

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins letter urging Congress to strengthen The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (JPA), H.R. 7120.

Coalition Letter on H.R. 7120 “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

Coalition Letter on H.R. 7120 “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act”

JUSTICE REFORM RESOURCES 06.18,20

View this letter as a PDF here.

June 18, 2020

Coalition Letter on H.R. 7120 “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act”

Dear Representatives,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference), a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect civil and human rights in the United States, and the 81 undersigned organizations, we write to urge you to strengthen The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (JPA). The JPA takes important steps forward in achieving meaningful police accountability, however, we believe we can, and must, rise to this moment and put forth the strongest bill possible by improving upon key areas within the bill.

On June 1, 2020, The Leadership Conference sent Congress a letter outlining accountability principles that must be adopted to address rampant, systemic, white supremacy in policing across America.[1] In less than 12 hours, more than 450 of this country’s most diverse civil rights, civil liberties and racial justice organizations signed on to that letter because what was asked of Congress aligned with what advocates, policing experts, and other stakeholders agree is needed. The priorities are not only reasonable but reflect a bare minimum of what must be in the JPA for systemic police reform to occur.

These priorities are: (1) the creation of a use of force standard that allows force when necessary and as a last resort; (2) a ban on chokeholds; (3) a ban on racial profiling; (4) the establishment of a police misconduct registry; (5) the inclusion of a “reckless” standard in 18 U.S.C. Section 242 that enables federal prosecutors to hold law enforcement accountable for criminal civil rights violations; (6) a prohibition on no-knock warrants, especially in drug cases; (7) the elimination of the judge-made doctrine of qualified immunity, which allows officers and other government actors to evade accountability when they violate individuals’ civil rights; and (8) the demilitarization of law enforcement agencies.[2]

Upon introduction of the JPA, The Leadership Conference and many partner organizations applauded the bill’s important provisions, particularly those sections that allow the use of deadly force only as a last resort, ban chokeholds, prohibit racial and religious profiling, and make it easier to hold police accountable for misconduct.[3] And while many of the provisions in the JPA are vital and responsive to the priorities called for by our coalition, they must be perfected to ensure that the intent behind the reforms is fully realized. There are a number of critical adjustments that should be made to the JPA in order to strengthen it and ensure the comprehensive police transparency and accountability that it intends.

Accountability: Qualified Immunity, Bivens, Pattern or Practice & Color of Law Prosecutions

Qualified immunity is a judge-made doctrine that provides police officers and other government actors with a defense when they have committed constitutional violations, including brutal acts of violence. This doctrine renders it nearly impossible to hold government officials accountable, leaving those who have experienced violence and misconduct by state actors with no recourse or prospect for recovering damages. The current JPA language would codify this doctrine by adopting flawed Supreme Court precedent and limiting it to a subset of state actors. No government actor should be able to deny a person of their civil rights and civil liberties with impunity, which is why qualified immunity must be abolished.

Additionally, the language in the JPA does not go far enough to address federal level accountability. While the Supreme Court has recognized that there are circumstances in which the U.S. Constitution authorizes victims of federal law enforcement officials to recover damages, federal courts have significantly curtailed the availability of these so-called “Bivens” claims in recent years.[4] The JPA does not create a federal cause of action, but merely removes qualified immunity for federal law enforcement in the Bivens context the Supreme Court currently recognizes. Congress must enact Bivens causes of action while completely eliminating the qualified immunity defense.

These changes must also apply retroactively, given the various cases before courts across this nation dealing with qualified immunity, Bivens, and accountability for federal law enforcement officials. Moreover, this week, the Supreme Court chose not to take up several qualified immunity cases, suggesting that the Court might not be likely to change the doctrine any time soon.[5] Therefore, it is all the more imperative for Congress to act, as the Court will not. that the JPA needs to abolish qualified immunity for all government actors so that individuals have access to a neutral judge who may vindicate their civil and constitutional rights.

Further, we ask that the JPA make clear that the existing pattern or practice statute (34 U.S. C. Section 12601) covers the actions of prosecutors and juvenile courts. In addition, in the authority given to states attorneys general, we would appreciate an explicit authorization of the use of grants for the creation of a special pattern and practice office that independently investigates potential abuses.

Finally, with respect to holding law enforcement officers criminally accountable for violating a person’s civil rights, we recommend adding a new section of the statute, Section 242(A), which specifically criminalizes the reckless use of excessive force and the intentional use of excessive force. These changes would address many of the current barriers to securing a conviction under 18 U.S.C. Section 242 that have prevented accountability and securing justice for victims, while preserving existing authority under Section 242.

Transparency: Police Misconduct Registry and Robust Data Collection

Police transparency and data accessibility are vital for progress to occur in our society. We welcome sections of the JPA that are responsive to our coalition’s call for increased data collection and reporting, ending racial profiling, and the establishment of a national registry of all federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.[6] We welcome the mandatory reporting provisions that would require law enforcement agencies to submit data to the U.S. Attorney General, including information about officer certifications, to remain eligible for Byrne grant funds.

However, to ensure public transparency, we also request that the JPA bill not obstruct public access to relevant records in the registry. The JPA bill currently contains a privacy provision, Section 201(e)(2) that may restrict public disclosure of important information in the police registry. For years, people of this nation have faced tremendous obstacles in accessing police records, which are critical for public oversight. The public interest in ensuring police transparency and accountability far outweighs the privacy concerns of police officers in their role as public servants. The public has a right to know when and which law enforcement officers have engaged in practices that are harmful to communities.

Furthermore, while we are pleased with the inclusion of misconduct records related to use of force and racial profiling, the bill does not include the collection of other pertinent information related to sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, violence toward a minor, perjury, tampering with or destroying evidence, bias or other civil rights violations and other misconduct. These omissions limit the ability of the public and law enforcement executives to measure the extent of the officer misconduct.

Finally, the bill needs strong enforcement mechanisms to end racial profiling and must also strengthen data collection and publication on all police enforcement activities, including demographic information. Law enforcement should be required to report the legal justifications for investigatory activities; reporting requirements must mandate quarterly reporting cycles; all data should be publicly reported and subjected to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); and the data collection demonstration project section 333 of the bill is duplicative and thus should be eliminated.

Demilitarization: 1033 Program and No-Knock & Quick-Knock Warrants

The militarization of policing in America, and the rise of the warrior cop mentality against Black and other marginalized communities, is made possible in part through the federal government’s transfer of weapons and vehicles of war to state and local police.[7] Data has shown that the increased transfer of equipment through the Department of Defense 1033 program increases the number of police killings in communities,[8] particularly in the context of SWAT drug raids.[9]

While the JPA takes a good first step in limiting the transfer of military equipment, the bill keeps intact the 1033 program, which has been notoriously mismanaged through the years.[10] Our coalition calls for complete elimination of all surplus, military grade weapons and equipment to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.[11] As for non-military equipment, such as desks and other office equipment, we call on Congress to transfer those items through a new agency and program that makes this equipment available to community organizations and state and local institutions beyond law enforcement.

Moreover, while a complete end to all no-knock warrants in all drug cases is also a welcome first step, Congress can and should go further to ban quick-knock raids, which carry the same risks involved in the execution of no-knock warrants.[12] Militarized police responses to drug investigations, where either a no-knock warrant or quick-knock raid is executed, are disproportionately used against people of color and lead to loss of life.[13] The JPA must disallow these practices from continuing.

Funding: Additional Federal Dollars

As it currently stands, the JPA provides hundreds of millions of additional federal dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies, including prosecutors’ offices, without significant guardrails in place to ensure those resources are used in the manner in which they are intended. Providing more dollars to the criminal-legal system expressly contradicts what our coalition has reasonably requested – to condition existing federal dollars received by states on the adoption of the critical policies outlined in the bill.[14] The bill also allocates new resources to the Department of Justice to study and implement best practices in training and accreditation, among other things. These resources could be better spent supporting community-led solutions to reimagining public safety. The nearly $1 billion allocated in the JPA continues to pour federal money into systems that may not reflect community demands, when millions of people in the United States are calling for direct investments into communities during this critical moment. All funding amounts outlined in the bill should be removed and recaptured in a new general appropriations authorization provision, allowing stakeholders to work with Congress to determine through the appropriations process where money is most needed to increase accountability and transparency in policing.

Additionally, provisions in the bill allowing for grant funds to develop uniform standards on school safety — including with respect to use of lethal and nonlethal force — raise concerns about reinforcing the role of law enforcement in schools through the use of school resource officers. The coalition has previously taken the position in its Civil Rights Principles for Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climates that school-based law enforcement should be eliminated and instead resources should be used to support students through evidence-based programs that are proven to create positive and safe school climates.[15] We urge Congress to ensure that relevant provisions of JPA are consistent with these principles.

Finally, the bill allocates grant dollars for body worn cameras, without restrictions to prevent them from contributing to our already bloated surveillance infrastructure. Specifically, the bill does not fully prohibit use of biometric and facial surveillance on footage obtained from these cameras. This omission is particularly striking, given that many jurisdictions already prohibit such actions and that a multitude of private companies, including Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Google, halted sales of face recognition to the police due to concerns that it can exacerbate existing police abuses.[16]

Conclusion

A vast and diverse collection of people, from coast to coast, and from streets across our nation, are calling on lawmakers to prioritize Black communities. It is time to change our laws to make “Black Lives Matter” more than a slogan. Congress has begun the process of heeding those calls with the historic introduction of The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but we can, and should go, further. We urge Congress to include the policy changes our coalition offers in order to perfect this bill and rectify the systemic racism that has taken the lives of countless Black and Brown people.

Ultimately, however, we must note that while the JPA takes important steps to address police violence and accountability, these changes will only take us so far. Congress must also reexamine federal spending priorities and shrink the footprint of the police and criminal legal system in this country. This means shifting billions of federal, taxpayer dollars away from criminalization, including policing, toward rebuilding communities of color, especially Black communities, which have been historically underfunded, under resourced and decimated by systemic racism.[17]

Thank you for your leadership in advancing these important policy recommendations. We look forward to continuing to work with members of this body as the legislation moves through Congress. If you have any questions or concerns follow-up, please contact Sakira Cook of The Leadership Conference at [email protected] or Kanya Bennett of the ACLU at [email protected].

Sincerely,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

American Civil Liberties Union

ActionAid USA

Agroecology Research-Action Collective

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Alabama State Association of Cooperatives

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas

American Atheists

Amnesty International USA

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action

Beyond Rosies

Black Farmers & Ranchers New Mexico

Bread for the World

Center for Disability Rights

Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, California State University, San Bernardino

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Concerned Citizens of Tillery

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces

Constitutional Accountability Center

Defending Rights & Dissent

Demand Progress

Drug Policy Alliance

Farmworker Association of Florida

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Government Information Watch

Health in Justice Action Lab, Northeastern University School of Law

Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights for Kids

Innocence Project

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Interfaith Action for Human Rights

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

The Justice Roundtable

Justice for Women Covid-19 Task Force

Kansas Black Farmers Association

King Bishop’s Entertainment LLC

Lambda Legal

Land Stewardship Project

League of Women Voters of the United States

March For Our Lives

Muslim Advocates

NAACP

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Council of Churches

National Employment Law Project

National Hmong American Farmers

National Immigrant Farming Initiative, Inc.

National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association

National Organization for Women

National Urban League

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Newtown Action Alliance

North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project

Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Inc.

Open Society Policy Center

Operation Spring Plant, Inc.

OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP

Results for America

Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund

Rural Coalition

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team

States United to Prevent Gun Violence

Texas Mexico Border Coalition CBO

The Daniel Initiative

The Diversity Center

The Sikh Coalition

TN State Conference NAACP

Town of Atrisco (NM) Land Grant

UnidosUS

United Methodist Women

Voices for Progress

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Women’s Community Justice Association

YWCA USA



[1] Letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, et al., to Congressional Leadership. (June 1, 2020). http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2020/Coalition_Letter_to_House_and_Senate_Leadership_on_Federal_Policing_Priorites_Final_6.1.20.pdf

[2] Ibid.

[3] Civil Rights Leaders’ Statement on Justice in Policing Act. (June 6, 2020). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Civil Rights Leaders’ Statement on Justice in Policing Act - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

[4] See, e.g., Hemenway, A. (Dec. 15, 2017). Civil Rights Litigation: The Supreme Court Further Restricts Bivens Actions. The Lawletter Blog. National Legal Research Group, Inc. Civil Rights Litigation: The Supreme Court Further Restricts Bivens Actions

[5] Supreme Court of the United States. Certiori – Summary Dispositions (June 15, 2020). https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/061520zor_f2bh.pdf

[6] Letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, et al., to Congressional Leadership. (June 1, 2020). http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2020/Coalition_Letter_to_House_and_Senate_Leadership_on_Federal_Policing_Priorites_Final_6.1.20.pdf

[7] American Civil Liberties Union. (June 2014). War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Police.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Sack, K. (Mar. 18, 2018). Door-Busting Drug Raids Leave a Trail of Blood, The New York Times. Door-Busting Drug Raids Leave a Trail of Blood.

[10] John, A. (Sept. 2, 2014). Police Departments Keep Losing Their Military Humvees and Assault Rifles. The Atlantic. Police Departments Keep Losing Their Military Humvees and Assault Rifles

[11] Letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, et al., to Congressional Leadership. (June 1, 2020). http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/policy/letters/2020/Coalition_Letter_to_House_and_Senate_Leadership_on_Federal_Policing_Priorites_Final_6.1.20.pdf

[12] Ibid.

[13] DPA Urges Congress to Strengthen Police Reform. (June 9, 2020). Drug Policy Alliance. DPA Urges Congress to Strengthen Police Reform Bill

[14] Testimony of Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountablity: Hearing Before the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2020). http://civilrightsdocs.info/VG Policing Testimony 06-10-20_final.pdf

[15] The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Civil Rights Principles for Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climates. (Sept. 4, 2019). http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/education/School-Climate-Principles.pdf

[16] See, e.g., Hamilton, I. (June 13, 2020). Outrage over police brutality has finally convinced Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM to rule out selling facial recognition tech to law enforcement. Here’s what’s going on. Business Insider. Outrage over police brutality has finally convinced Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM to rule out selling facial recognition tech to law enforcement. Here's what's going on.

[17] Testimony of Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountablity: Hearing Before the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, 116th Cong. (2020). http://civilrightsdocs.info/VG Policing Testimony 06-10-20_final.pdf

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
I've noticed that recently the Swedish version of the official Church of Scientology website has posted libeberal and progressive articles that are not available on other Scientology websites or elsewhere. I'm curious why this is the case.

The latest example is, "Does Turkey’s New System for Changing Religious Affiliation Online Presage a More Tolerant Religious Atmosphere?"

Screenshot_20200626-085423_1593186927149.png


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

Turkey has launched an “e-Government Gateway” system, ostensibly to “offer public services to citizens, businesses, and government agencies in an efficient and effective manner through information technologies.”

However, International Christian Concern (ICC), a nonprofit opposed to the persecution of Christians worldwide, has expressed concern over a new feature on the website, allowing citizens to change their religion online. On its surface, this appears to be an improvement.

“Previously, citizens in Muslim-majority Turkey were required to apply to the General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality to switch their faith and have the change reflected in their official government records,” the report states. However, the ICC is concerned this may offer new opportunities for discrimination.

* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins letter opposing Operation Relentless Pursuit, "a program that encourages the criminalization and over-policing of Black and Brown communities."


The Leadership Conference and Civil Rights Corps Letter on Operation Relentless Pursuit - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights/


* * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *


The Leadership Conference and Civil Rights Corps Letter on Operation Relentless Pursuit


JUSTICE REFORM RESOURCES 07.14,20


View this letter as a PDF here.


July 14, 2020


The Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney
Chairwoman
Committee on Oversight and Reform
U.S. House of Representatives


The Honorable Nita M. Lowey
Chairwoman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives


The Honorable James Comer
Ranking Member
Committee on Oversight and Reform
U.S. House of Representatives


The Honorable Kay Granger
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives


Dear Chairwoman Maloney, Chairwoman Lowey, and Ranking Members Comer and Granger:


On behalf of Civil Rights Corps, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the 77 undersigned partner organizations, we write to express our opposition to Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP), a program that encourages the criminalization and over-policing of Black and Brown communities while doing nothing to increase public safety. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others have inspired nationwide demands to shrink the footprint of the criminal-legal system and end its abuses, including those by police departments. If we are to meet these demands and provide genuine safety to all communities, the federal government must begin investing in non-carceral, community-led programs rather than continuing to increase funding for police departments with deeply rooted histories of racial violence and injustice. We urge Congress to conduct robust oversight of the intended uses of the program’s Fiscal Year 2020 funds and the impacts they will have on over-policing, incarceration rates, and public safety in these communities. We also request that Congress adopt report language in Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations legislation prohibiting the use of any Department of Justice (DOJ) funds for Operation Relentless Pursuit in the future.


Launched in December 2019, Operation Relentless Pursuit is projected to funnel $71 million this year to law enforcement in seven cities – Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee – under the guise of combatting violent crime.[1] To date, DOJ has already allocated – but not dispersed – $51 million in Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office funds and $10 million in Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) funds to state and local law enforcement agencies for ORP in these jurisdictions.[2] Operation Relentless Pursuit replicates the most devastating aspects of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which flooded America’s streets with cops and dramatically increased incarceration rates, especially in Black and Brown communities.[3] ORP funds a similar influx of police officers and federal agents, bolsters prosecutors’ offices, and incentivizes additional federal criminal prosecutions by requiring departments receiving funds to investigate and prosecute certain federal crimes, such as drug trafficking and gang involvement. These actions are not constructive ways to achieve true public safety but serve only to continue the legacy of systemic racism and criminalization of minority communities.[4]


Moreover, ORP exacerbates this legacy by directing millions of federal dollars to police departments with longstanding histories of brutality and discrimination. Four of the seven jurisdictions currently receiving ORP funds are either currently operating under consent decrees or have been in the last five years.[5] For example, the Baltimore Police Department remains under a consent decree for systemic constitutional violations that “produce[d] severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans” and reflected a pattern of excessive use of force.[6] Similarly, the Detroit Police Department spent 13 years under two consent decrees for use of excessive force and illegal detentions,[7] and the Cleveland Police Department has been under an active consent decree since 2015 for its use of excessive force[8] – a practice evidenced by the tragic death of 12-year old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a police officer while playing with a toy gun in 2014.[9] Rather than subsidizing failing departments in this way, the federal government should direct its resources to efforts that reduce officer-involved responses to crises that are better served by non-police first responders, strengthen civil rights, and provide real support to communities.


The evidence suggests that community-based investments in non-carceral programs – not investments in the criminal legal system – are most effective at keeping people safe and enhancing community well-being.[10] In Eugene, Oregon, for example, local non-profit Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets (CAHOOTS), has trained mental health professionals to respond to nearly one-in-five 911 calls, saving $14 million in ambulance transport calls and emergency room care last year alone.[11] This effective, non-police first responder model has been scaled in cities across the country.[12] Innovative programs like CAHOOTS have shown what communities have long known: incarceration and over-policing generally serve to undermine public safety,[13] whereas safe, accessible, and stable housing, well-funded schools, and accessible behavioral health care improve it. The federal government should be funding these strategies, not reverting to policy approaches that have substantively failed and devastated so many communities.


As Congress works to undertake meaningful policing and public safety reforms, it should examine the efficacy and racially inequitable effects of current programs, beginning with ORP. We support the work of advocates nationwide, particularly in the seven cities selected, to ensure that their jurisdictions refuse ORP funds. As a way of supporting this work, legislators must use their power to ask questions that expose the damaging consequences of programs like ORP. They must ask how jurisdictions plan to use any awarded funds, how such activities will affect public safety, and what potential impacts they will have on community members, including impacts on arrests, incarceration rates, the use of discriminatory policing practices, and racial disparities in outcomes.


We urge legislators to support local leaders and advocates who are fighting to keep their communities safe. In the meantime, we ask that the Oversight Committee conduct oversight of ORP’s planned use of Fiscal Year 2020 funds and hold DOJ accountable for its actions, including for the harms that its actions have disproportionately perpetrated on Black and Brown communities. We also urge the Appropriations Committee and all members of Congress to oppose any funding for Operation Relentless Pursuit moving forward, by adopting report language in the Fiscal Year 2021 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies legislation to prohibit DOJ from devoting any federal resources to ORP. Finally, we request that Congress end its reliance on carceral structures as a way of approaching public safety, instead supporting increased funding allocations for areas like housing, education, health care, and other programs that will have long-lasting effects on the strength of our communities.


Sincerely,


The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


334 East 92nd Street Tenant Association


9to5


A. Philip Randolph Institute


American Civil Liberties Union


American Association of People with Disabilities


Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network


Bay Village Anti-Racism Network


Black and Brown Activism Defense Collective


Black Church PAC


Center for Disability Rights


Center for Popular Democracy


Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law


Christian Peacemaker Teams


Church of Scientology National Affairs Office


Citizen Action of New York


Coalition of Black Trade Unionists


Community Alliance on Prisons


Defending Rights & Dissent


Detroit Community Technology Project


Drug Policy Alliance


Equal Rights Advocates


Equality California


Equity Matters


Fair and Just Prosecution


Faith In Action LIVE FREE Project


Farmworker Association of Florida


Florida Legal Services, Inc.


Government Information Watch


Human Rights Campaign


Human Rights Watch


InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (IRTF Cleveland)


Japanese American Citizens League


Justice Roundtable


Justice Strategies


King County Department of Public Defense


Lamda Legal


Law Enforcement Action Partnership


League of Women Voters of the United States


Legal Action Center


Legal Aid Justice Center


Matthew Shepard Foundation


Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)


NAACP


National Association of Social Workers


National Center for Transgender Equality


National Council of Churches


National Council on Independent Living


National Education Association


National Juvenile Justice Network


National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty


National Legal Aid & Defender Association


National Partnership for Women & Families


Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition


Ohio Poverty Law Center


Our Data Bodies


Our Revolution Ohio


Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC)


Policing and Social Justice Project


Prison Policy Initiative


Project on Government Oversight


Public Justice Center


Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights


Rural Coalition


Silver State Equality – Nevada


San Jose State University Record Clearance Project


Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund


Stand for Children


Showing Up for Racial Justice


The Center for Constitutional Rights


The Daniel Initiative


The Justice Collaborative


The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls


Voto Latino


Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs


Workers Center of Central NY


World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law


White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL)





cc:


William P. Barr, Attorney General


U.S. Department of Justice


[1] U.S. Department of Justice. (Dec. 18, 2019). Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit. Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit


[2] U.S. Department of Justice. (May 11, 2020). Justice Department Releases $61 Million in Awards to Support Efforts to Combat Violent Crime in Seven U.S. Cities. Justice Department Releases $61 Million in Awards to Support Efforts to Combat Violent Crime in Seven U.S. Cities.


[3] See, e.g., Eisen, L. (Apr. 14, 2016). The Complex History of the Controversial 1994 Crime Bill. Brennan Center for Justice. The Complex History of the Controversial 1994 Crime Bill


[4] See U.S. Government Accountability Office (2005), Community policing grants: COPS grants were a modest contributor to declines in crime in the 1990s, https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06104.pdf.


[5] See, U.S. v. City of Cleveland, Settlement Agreement. (May 26 2015). https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2015/05/27/cleveland_agreement_5-26-15.pdf; U.S. v. Police Department of Baltimore City, et. al. (Jan. 12, 2017). https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/925056/download; U.S. v. City of Albuquerque, Settlement Agreement. (Nov. 10, 2014). https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao-nm/legacy/2015/01/20/DOJ-ABQ Settlement Agreement EXECUTED.pdf; U.S. Department of Justice. (June 12, 2003). Justice Department Files Consent Decrees Concluding Investigation of Detroit Police. #352: 06-12-03 JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES CONSENT DECREES CONCLUDING INVESTIGATION OF DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT


[6] U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. (Aug. 10, 2016). Investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department. https://www.justice.gov/crt/file/883296/download


[7] Baldas, T. (Mar. 31, 2016). Detroit police finally rid of federal oversight. Detroit Free Press. Detroit police finally rid of federal oversight/


[8] U.S. v. City of Cleveland, Settlement Agreement. (May 26 2015). https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2015/05/27/cleveland_agreement_5-26-15.pdf


[9] U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. (Dec. 4, 2014). Investigation of the Cleveland Division of Police. https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2014/12/04/cleveland_division_of_police_findings_letter.pdf


[10] See, e.g. Sharkey, P. et al. (2017). Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime. American Sociological Review Vol. 82(6) 1214-1240 DOI:10.1177/0003122417736289; Bondurant, S. et al. (2018). Substance abuse treatment centers and local crime. Journal of Urban Economics, 104©, 124-133. DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2018.01.007;Top of FormBottom of Form Heller, S. et al. (2017). Thinking Fast and Slow? Some field experiments to reduce crime and dropout in Chicago. The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 132(1) 1-54. Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago *.


[11] Read, R. (June 12, 2020). As protestors call for defunding police, Northwest cities seek to reimagine law enforcement. Los Angeles Times. As protesters call for defunding police, Northwest cities seek to reimagine law enforcement.


[12] Samuel, S. (Jun. 15, 2020). Calling the cops on someone with mental illness can go terribly wrong. Here’s a better idea, Vox. Calling the cops on someone with mental illness can go terribly wrong. Here’s a better idea.


[13] See, e.g. Stemen, D. et al. (July 2017). The prison paradox: more incarceration will not make us safer. Vera Institute, https://www.vera.org/downloads/publications/for-the-record-prison-paradox_02.pdf; Roeder, O. et al. (2019) What caused the crime decline? Brennan Center for Justice, https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/Report_What_Caused_The_Crime_Decline.pdf.; U.S. Government Accountability Office (2005), Community policing grants: COPS grants were a modest contributor to declines in crime in the 1990s, https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06104.pdf.


* * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
 

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office joins letter to the US Department of State requesting Country of Particular Concern (CPC) Status for India.

According to Wikipedia, Country of Particular Concern (CPC) is a designation by the United States Secretary of State of a nation guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 106-55).

Jubilee Campaign +40 Organizations Sign Letter to US Department of State Requesting CPC Status for India


Screenshot_20200729-173817_1596070426534.png

Screenshot_20200729-173836_1596070397295.png

Screenshot_20200729-173906_1596070354933_1596070864836.png

Screenshot_20200729-173918_1596070239252.png
.Screenshot_20200729-173930_1596070196874.png
Screenshot_20200729-173945_1596070140333.png
.
Screenshot_20200729-174009_1596070093364.png
 
Last edited:

ISNOINews

Independent Scientology and Nation of Islam news
Church of Scientology National Affairs Office endorses legislation to allow people with certain drug-related convictions to temporarily receive welfare benefits.

More precisely the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office endorses the Removing Barriers to Basic Needs Act of 2020.

The Removing Barriers to Basic Needs Act of 2020 would temporarily waive section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, 21 U.S. Code § 862a, as applied to the TANF and SNAP programs. The waiver would expire on December 31, 2022.

As indicated above, Section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 is codified at 21 U.S. Code § 862a:

21 U.S. Code § 862a - Denial of assistance and benefits for certain drug-related convictions

Section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 currently requires denial of TANF and SNAP assistance and benefits to people with certain drug-related convictions.

TANF = Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It is a federal assistance program that succeeded succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, providing cash assistance to indigent American families through the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

SNAP = Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP is a federal program that helps millions of low-income Americans put food on the table.

In summary, by waiving section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the proposed legislation supported by the CSNAO would allow people who have certain drug-related convictions to receive SNAP and TANF assistance and benefits until December 31, 2022.

In other words the legislation supported by the CSNAO would make it easier for people to receive welfare.

I do not understand how this is consistent with the Scientology policy against "rewarding the down statistic," but this is now an official legislative priority of the Church of Scientology.


Legislation | The Justice Roundtable



Screenshot_20200803-142919_1596490274438.png

Screenshot_20200803-142359_1596489918795.png

Screenshot_20200803-142419_1596489940772.png

Screenshot_20200803-142433_1596489965882.png

Screenshot_20200803-142114_1596490030260.png
 
Last edited:
Top