December 8, 2014 at 11:20 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Eric Holder to announce new police profiling policy

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday will officially announce a new policy that will ban federal law enforcement officials from profiling people based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and other factors.

The new policy will expand the Justice Department’s 2003 policy that specifically addressed profiling based on race and ethnicity among federal law enforcement officials. Holder will announce the Justice Department has expanded this policy to include gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The new policy will apply to both federal and state and local law enforcement officials. It will also eliminate “broad carve-outs for law enforcement activities” that are specific to national security or what a Justice Department official described as “the integrity of the borders.”

“With this new guidance, we take a major and important step forward to ensure effective policing by federal law enforcement officials and state and local law enforcement participating in federal task forces throughout the nation,” said Holder in a statement. “This guidance is the product of five years of scrupulous review. It codifies important new protections for those who come into contact with federal law enforcement agents. And it brings enhanced training, oversight, and accountability to federal law enforcement across the country, so that isolated acts of discrimination do not tarnish the exemplary work that’s performed by the overwhelming majority of America’s hard-working law enforcement officials each and every day.”

The announcement comes less than a week after a grand jury in Staten Island, N.Y., declined to indict a white police officer in the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

A separate grand jury last month decided not to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Michael Brown, a black teenager, in August in Ferguson, Mo.

Protests in D.C., Baltimore, New York and other cities across the country continue to take place amid lingering outrage over the two incidents.

“As attorney general, I have repeatedly made clear that profiling by law enforcement is not only wrong, it is profoundly misguided and ineffective — because it wastes precious resources and undermines the public trust,” said Holder in a statement. “Particularly in light of certain recent incidents we’ve seen at the local level — and the widespread concerns about trust in the criminal justice process which so many have raised throughout the nation – it’s imperative that we take every possible action to institute strong and sound policing practices.”

The Washington Blade will provide further updates throughout the day.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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