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Requiring Mandatory Investigations by the Department of Justice of Cases Where Individuals Die While in Police Custody

WHEREAS, there have been several incidents where seemingly healthy individuals were arrested and taken into custody by local and state law enforcement agencies; and

WHEREAS, within a matter of hours these individuals experienced severe medical conditions that led to their demise; and

WHEREAS, these law enforcement agencies in the majority if not all of these incidents stated that their actions were within their policies and procedures and did not cause any unnecessary harm to these individuals; and

WHEREAS, in rare situations does the autopsy report indicate that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma or the possible unnecessary actions of law enforcement personnel; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement continue to deny that they used excessive force and the investigations if any are conducted by another local law enforcement agency which causes the entire investigation to be suspect; and

WHEREAS, the majority of the time the next of kin is not able to afford an independent autopsy or investigation and the case is closed without ever knowing the real cause of death.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP and its Units support pending Congressional legislation entitled, "Deaths in Custody Reporting Act," to ensure that all deaths in custody, as defined in this legislation, are referred to and investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ); and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP request that the Department of Justice adopt policies that makes it mandatory for DOJ to vigorously investigate cases in which an individual dies where there is an allegation of civil rights violation or excessive force while in the custody of law enforcement regardless of the outcome of local investigations.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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