In a press release from the Department of Justice Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced his new $4.75 million project that "seeks to ease mistrust between law enforcement [and] minority communities."
The project is purported to be a result of the verdict of the Trayvon Martin case and President Obama's call to the DOJ to reduce tensions between minorities and police officers. The new initiative -- the National Center for Building Community Trust and Justice -- will be funded through grants totaling $4.75 million.
Recipients of the grants have not yet been named. These recipients, along with the DOJ and local law enforcement, will be responsible for collecting and analyzing data about stops, searches and arrests with the goal of reducing "bias and discord."
In the release, Holder explains the purpose behind his multi-million-dollar "racial mistrust" project:
Racial disparities contribute to tension in our nation generally and within communities of color specifically, and tend to breed resentment towards law enforcement that is counterproductive to the goal of reducing crime.
Of course, to be successful in reducing both the experience and the perception of bias, we must have verifiable data about the problem. As a key part of this initiative, we will work with grant recipients and local law enforcement to collect data about stops and searches, arrests, and case outcomes in order to help assess the impact of possible bias.
The letter states that five pilot sites, particularly those of "distress and distrust," will initially be involved in the program, although it does not list them specifically. The hope is to integrate anti-gang and mentoring programs to boost "confidence in the justice system among young people of color."
Holder concludes the statement with a personal note:
As our nation’s Attorney General, and as a father of three, I am personally dedicated to doing everything possible to reduce crime, to strengthen our communities, and to provide the support and assistance that all of our young people need – and that they deserve.
Read the full release here.
A video of the message can be seen here.