ACLU Distressed That Justice Department Considering Release of Pittsburgh Police From Consent Decree in Light of Today's Highly Critical Auditor's Report: Statement by Witold Walczak, Executive Director of the ACLU of Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH - One day after Pittsburgh officials announced that the Department of Justice will be releasing the police department from a historic 1997 consent decree that imposed federal oversight on the police bureau, the independent auditor evaluating the City's performance filed a damning report today, saying that City's non-compliance has increased substantially in the past quarter.
If the Justice Department is really thinking about releasing the police department from federal oversight, as the City is claiming, then critics who say the Bush Administration and Attorney General John Ashcroft have no commitment to civil rights will have ample evidence that these claims are true. If the Justice Department loosens its oversight of the City in the face of this blistering audit, it will send a message that civil rights just don't matter any more.
To read a fact sheet highlighting the auditor's latest findings please go to: http://archive.aclu.org/news/2002/19AQR_facts.pdf
The latest auditor's report as well as previous reports and background information on the 1996 ACLU lawsuit and the consent decree can be found at: http://archive.aclu.org/features/f010902a.html