It’s Jeff Session’s America now, Cleveland, Ohio, edition.
Recently installed U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said he has dismantled the office’s civil rights unit and has established a new division that will focus on prosecuting violent crime.
The civil rights unit served as the crown jewel of the office under former top prosecutors Steve Dettelbach and Carole Rendon and handled some of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions under those administrations.
Don’t worry, those cases will still be prosecuted, says Herdman. But there won’t be a division for it anymore.
Herdman said the prosecutors didn’t have a big enough workload to justify the unit’s existence. In addition to civil cases, the unit prosecuted criminal cases involving sex trafficking, labor trafficking and allegations of excessive force by police. […]
Herdman said his office would still look at and, if need be, charge similar cases. They would just be handled by prosecutors in other units, he said.
What there will not be is a division organized explicitly around protecting civil rights or examining excessive police violence. As Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump have both made clear, there is a new sheriff in town, and the new sheriff believes we have gone entirely too far on this whole protecting the rights of individual citizens business.