Barack Obama and Community Policing

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with rank-and-file law enforcement officials from across the country in the Oval Office, Feb. 24, 2015


President Barack Obama formed the Task Force on 21st Century Policing in December 2014 chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and former Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson that focused in part on "the need for expanding and enhancing Community Policing."[1]

Members of Task Force on 21st Century Policing

  • Ron Davis, Director of Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office will serve as the Executive Director of the Task Force
  • Charles Ramsey, Appointee for Member and Co-Chair, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Laurie Robinson, Appointee for Member and Co-Chair, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Jose Lopez, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Bryan Stevenson, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Brittany Packnett, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Susan Rahr, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Tracey Meares, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Constance Rice, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Roberto Villasenor, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Sean Smoot, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Cedric Alexander, Appointee for Member, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing[2]

Visiting the White House

President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett met with Black Lives Matter activists September 16, 2015 at the White House, the latest sign that the Obama administration is involved with the controversial protest group.

Jarrett met with three organizers for Campaign Zero. DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Johnetta Elzie as well as Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders and Jamye Wooten, an organizer for Baltimore United for Change were there, according to a senior White House official who confirmed the visit to Buzzfeed.

After the meeting, Packnett tweeted a selfie with Jarrett thanking her for engaging the movement.

“Great meeting, Brittany. Truly appreciate your leadership!!” Jarrett replied on Twitter. Packnett has six recorded entries of visiting the complex long before the protests in Ferguson. She also was among the select group of Ferguson activists that met with Obama in December 2014. “I could tell he is taking this very personally,” Packnett explained after the 45 minute meeting with the president in the Oval Office. “He wants to see some clear, thoughtful action come from this.”

She also revealed that Obama sympathized with the movement, thanks to his background as a community organizer in Chicago.

“He offered us a lot of encouragement with his background as a community organizer, and told us that even incremental changes were progress,” she told reporters after the meeting. “He didn’t want us to get discouraged. He said, ‘Keep speaking truth to power.’”

Packnett was also selected as a member of Obama’s presidential task force on 21st century policing – and has a long record of activism in St. Louis including some time spent in Washington D.C.[3]

July 2016 Meeting

On July 13, 2016 Barack Obama "met with a range of people at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building...to discuss community policing and criminal justice..." Invitees included "activists, civil rights, faith, law enforcement and elected leaders – to have a conversation about ways we can keep people safe, build community trust, and ensure justice for all Americans."[4]

Administration Officials

Attendees

References