It’s an issue that’s flown pretty quietly under the media radar, but the 19 “rules of engagement” originally drawn up by Black Lives Matter organizers in Ferguson and largely agreed to by the mayor of St. Louis have gradually transformed into a more comprehensive list of demands known as Campaign Zero and been shopped around Washington, D.C. to politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
One of the platforms of Campaign Zero is to require that current and prospective police officers undergo mandatory implicit racial bias testing, the results of which would be factored into hiring, deployment, and performance evaluations.
In May 2015, after a two-year DOJ investigation, the City of Cleveland announced that its police department would adopt training procedures to “help officers understand historical and cultural systems that perpetuate racial and ethnic profiling.”
A year later, the Justice Department has announced that it will be requiring its own employees to undergo similar implicit racial bias testing, starting in 2017.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 27, 2016
More than 33,000 federal agents and prosecutors are set to get the training, which will begin in 2017, though Department of Homeland Security employees are exempt. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is scheduled to announce the program in Phoenix on Tuesday, a DOJ official told Reuters.
The bias training was largely developed by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington think tank which recently came under fire from law enforcement groups for its recommendations on use-of-force situations, including suggestions such as imagining public perception.
Public perception seems to be very important to law enforcement recently. Take, for example, the police in San José who watched rioters sucker punch Donald Trump supporters until they bled, explaining later that the use of physical force to protect the citizens had to be weighed against the possibility of producing “more violent behavior” from the mob. Riot police can’t just storm into a riot wearing riot gear like they own the place.
Fox News’ Brit Hume agrees that the DOJ could use some additional training.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) June 27, 2016
— Susan Reaney (@SSReaney) June 27, 2016
@brithume what they need is a major housecleaning starting at the top
— winflop (@Winflop) June 27, 2016
— Robert Neckel (@robert_neckel) June 27, 2016
@brithume yea, they got the bias thing down pat.
— Gerry Nass (@gkn08215) June 27, 2016