Florida Sheriff's Anti-Drug Message: Set-Up for Unconstitutional Policing
A viral Facebook video posted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in Florida shows Sheriff Peyton Grinnell, surrounded by four masked men wearing sheriff’s department uniforms and Kevlar vests, warning people who deal drugs: "To the dealers that are pushing this poison, I have a message for you: We’re coming for you."
This is the type of policing happening on the watch of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is attempting to shake up policing in the country by limiting federal oversight of police departments with a history of civil rights violations, while calling for an escalation of the war on drugs. Last week, Sessions ordered a wide-ranging review of the federal consent decrees with local law enforcement agencies that have been accused of brutality and violating civil rights laws. The review signals the Justice Department intends to shift away from monitoring and forcing changes within police departments, such as the police department of Ferguson, Missouri, where systematic racial discrimination by the police and the police killing of unarmed 18-year-old African American Michael Brown sparked an uprising in 2014. This comes as Sessions is also calling for what many see as a new war on drugs.
For more, we speak with Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.