On Constitutional Policing in the United States

OSCE emblem at the entrance to the Hofburg Congress Center, Vienna. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

On Constitutional Policing in the United States

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
April 19, 2018

Building on our March 22 statement to the Permanent Council, recent events compel my delegation to again brief the Council on constitutional policing in the United States.

Local residents, civil rights advocates, clergy, and other community leaders have raised legitimate concerns over police actions in Sacramento and Houston following the deaths of Stephon Clark and Danny Ray Thomas in separate encounters with police.

In the case of Danny Ray Thomas, the Houston Police Department is leading the investigation of the shooting. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is conducting separate administrative oversight, committing to review all policies and procedures to learn how officers and the police force can improve and learn from these situations.

The Sacramento Police Department is leading the Stephon Clark investigation, assisted by the California Department of Justice. A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that federal law enforcement officials “are in close communication with the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County District Attorney concerning the investigations into the Stephon Clark shooting and will continue to coordinate with them and with the California Attorney General’s Office as this matter progresses.”

Mr. Chair, we will continue to update the Permanent Council on these cases as the results of the respective investigations become available.

Since his confirmation, the U.S. Attorney General has maintained his commitment to reducing violent crime and ensuring public safety while protecting the civil rights of all individuals. The Attorney General has promised that the U.S. Department of Justice will vigorously investigate and prosecute law enforcement officers whose actions unnecessarily malign the men and women who serve honorably every day. The Department of Justice has fulfilled that commitment.

Every American deserves law enforcement that is fair, effective, responsive, respectful, and constitutional. The U.S. government is committed to ensuring constitutional policing, and works with civil society organizations and local law enforcement entities, among other stakeholders, to further that objective.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.