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NYC Bar to host Loretta Lynch for police reform panel

July 16, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney general under President Barack Obama and the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, will sit on a panel with the New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) to discuss police reform at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22.

The event is being organized by NYCBA President Sheila Boston and others. Boston will moderate a panel that includes Lynch; Nicole Austin-Hillery, the executive director of Human Rights Watch; Paul Fishman, a former U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey; and J. Scott Thompson, the former chief of the Camden County Police Department.

The discussion is meant to contribute to the national conversation over police abuse of Black and Latinx people and contribute to reforms that many local and federal legislators are considering. The discussion leaders hope to identify key issues, discuss how policing and law enforcement should be carried out and consider ways that the legal community can contribute.

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Lynch recently took part in Attorney General Letitia James’ two-day public hearing on police and public interactions during recent protests across New York State. Hundreds of people shared their stories of police and protester clashes during that forum, which ultimately ended in James calling for a radical redesign of the NYPD.

Included in those recommendations were a call to create a public participation oversight committee with input into the hiring and firing of police leaders, to create another independent oversight committee for individual officer misconduct, to establish an expansion of the Office of the Inspector General that reports directly to the NYC mayor, to establish a codified use of force standard with legal consequences for violations, and to craft an overall redesign in the role of police in New York City that avoids police being the de facto response for mental illness, homelessness and school safety.

“With this report, Attorney General James and her team have begun the important work of chronicling the events surrounding the recent protests and ensuring that all voices — protesters, police, and elected officials — are heard,” Lynch said. “As this investigation continues, so must the vital conversations around transparency and accountability. These are the most important conversations of our time.”

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