Civil Rights Leaders Meet with President, Call for March on Washington

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Leaders of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund participated in a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden Monday, while Al Sharpton on Wednesday called for a march on Washington, saying “We’re dealing with a national crisis.”

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Proposals from the president include a three-year $263 million investment package to increase the use of police body cameras, increased training for law-enforcement agencies, more resources for police department reform, and increasing the number of cities where the Justice Department facilitates engagement between local law enforcement and the communities served.

 

Of the $263 million, about $75 million is proposed to purchase up to 50,000 body cameras.

 

The Task Force on 21st Century Policing, led by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, will pull together a report with concrete recommendations.

 

Rev. Sharpton called for the national march on Washington on Saturday, Dec. 13, in response to the announcement that there would be no criminal indictment of the police officer who killed Eric Garner in New York.

 

“It is time for a national march to deal with a national crisis,” Sharpton said on Wednesday night, standing alongside Garner’s widow Esaw Garner, his mother Gwen Carr and other African American leaders.

 

Sharpton called on the federal government to do an independent investigation into the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in Staten Island and Tamir Rice in Cleveland.

 

“We are dealing with a national crisis,” he said. “How many people have to die before people understand this is not an illusion? This is a reality that America has got to come to terms with.”

 

Sharpton said civil rights organizations would begin planning the march immediately on Thursday morning.

 

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