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DOJ "peacemaking" division helped with security at 2012 Trayvon Martin rallies
July 10, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Should federal dollars go to support local protests?
According to a piece today by investigative reporter Patrick Howley at the Daily Caller, the Community Relations Service, which is a division of the U.S. Justice Department, spent $3,461.13 between March and April 2012 to help with security at protest marches in Sanford, Fla., against George Zimmerman, the man currently on trial for the killing of teen Trayvon Martin. One of the headline speakers at the March 31, 2012 "March for Trayvon Martin" was activist Al Sharpton, who called for Zimmerman to be prosecuted for murder.
Apparently, according to Howley's piece, the Community Relations Service dates back to 1964, the Civil Rights era. Its webpage states that "The Community Relations Service is the Department's 'peacemaker' for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.
There was undoubtedly a need to restore "racial stability and harmony" in the wake of the protests following the death of Trayvon Martin, though I'm not sure if that was accomplished. If the Community Relations Service helped avoid violence in those communities, though, more power to them.
I'd be interested in seeing a list of what the Community Relations Service did with that $3,461.13 during the various marches and rallies last year. I'd also be curious to see a list of other events that the Community Relations Service has been involved with and how successful its efforts have been. Maybe they should be credited for many more peacemaking efforts. This is a little known DOJ division that the public would likely be interested in knowing more about.
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