President Donald Trump must cement his legacy on criminal justice reform with immediate, concrete action to prevent more cruel and unjustified killings of African Americans before more lives are lost senselessly.
He must also lead the initiative to ensure that the persons responsible for the death of George Floyd receive the same due process and consequences for their actions as quickly as any other American citizen would. The wheels of justice must turn at the same pace for all perpetrators of heinous crimes.
He must also address the two-tiered justice system that is impacting individuals from all walks of life. We must not allow political forces to harness our intelligence agencies, Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of investigations for political retribution and election interference.
There must be consequences for wrongdoing, whether it is perpetrated by police or political operatives and the same consequences must apply to all offenders. No one should be given a get-out-of -jail for free card. We must not allow the powerful to carve out niches for themselves to escape the consequences that other wrongdoers who commit crimes must face.
There are forces among us who would like to trump the president’s powerful First Step reform program by letting criminals run free and shutting down our jails. This is a prescription for anarchy and we must reject that immediately and forcefully, but we must also confront the reality that the criminal justice system as it currently exists is an affront to our democracy.
The president has shown tremendous courage by pushing through the Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act (known as the First Step Act), a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill passed by the 115th Congress and signed on December 2018.
It contained critical reforms to our federal prison system and sentencing laws to reduce recidivism, decrease the federal inmate population, and maintain public safety. It has already borne fruit by releasing the shackles from many who were burdened with overly harsh, long sentences. It has transformed many lives and given people hope, but there is so much urgent work left to be done.
Attorney General William Barr is also in the process of transforming our intelligence services, the FBI and our surveillance practices through Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reform in the wake of the fiasco over phony claims of Russian interference in our 2016 election.
Individuals in our premier law enforcement agencies dragged the president, his associates and his campaign through a totally unjustified investigation, destroying many lives in the process. There must never be a repeat of this sordid affair ever again in our history.
We must act today. The pain from the injustices that are being perpetrated has been festering for too long. We can’t continue to slow-walk or delay the difficult work of reform, even when the flames die down and calm is restored.
Let’s continue the bi-partisan work that has already started. Do it today in the memory of George Floyd.