U.S. Department of Justice
The Community Relations Service (CRS), a unique component of the U.S. Department of Justice, seeks to prevent or resolve community conflicts and tensions arising from actions, policies, and practices perceived to be discriminatory on the basis of race, color, or national origin. CRS provides technical assistance, conciliation, and mediation services, directly and their communities to help them resolve racial and ethnic conflicts.
CRS deploys highly skilled professional mediators. These federal mediators assist people of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds as they develop their own agreements. CRS does not take sides among parties in disputes.
To the Senate and House of Representativesof the United States of America in Congress Assembled:
I hereby transmit a report on the activities of the Community Relations Service (CRS) of the U.S. Department of Justice for Fiscal Year 2003. This report is required by Section 100 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-352), and by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1966, as revised by 28 C.F.R. 0.30(b).
This report describes CRS’ conflict prevention and resolution activities, so that Members of Congress may assess its performance in executing its statutory mandates.
|Message from the Director|
|Community Relations Service Mission Statement|
|Highlights and Accomplishments|
|Overview of CRS Activities|
|Responding to Post-September 11 Issues|
|Administration of Justice and Police-Community Relations|
|Protests and Special Events|
|Schools and Colleges|
|Church Burnings and Racial Attacks on Houses of Worship|
|CRS Alerts of Racial Conflicts by Issues (Charts)|
|CRS Regional Divisions Map|
|Management and Budget|
|Comprehensive Review and Reorganization of the Department of Justice to Meet the Counter-terrorism Mission|
|Budget and Operations Requirements|
|CRS Mission and Critical Functions Alignment with the Department’s Strategic Goals|
|Congressional Notification Requirement|
|Conflict Resolution and Prevention Services|
|Law Enforcement Mediation/Conflict Resolution Skills Training Program|
|Benton Harbor, Michigan|
|Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Rapid City, South Dakota|
|Elizabeth, New Jersey|
|Glossary of Terms|
|CRS Customer Service Standards (Inside Back Cover)|
I am honored to submit to the Congress of the United States the FY 2003 Annual Report on the racial conflict resolution activities of the Community Relations Service (CRS) of the U.S. Department of Justice.
In FY 2003, an increased level of assistance to the Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American communities by conciliators and mediators of the Community Relations Service was necessary to address post-September 11 fears, concerns, and incidents of harassment and hate. Law enforcement protocol and cultural diversity seminars and a police roll call training video were used to help law enforcement better respond to Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American community conflicts and reduce friction between law enforcement and these communities. CRS played an important role in establishing and enhancing communication and understanding with its network of contacts in law enforcement and the Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American communities.
In 2004, the Community Relations Service will celebrate its 40th anniversary since its creation by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to help ease the Nation into a unified Public Square accommodating all of its citizens regardless of race, color, or national origin. During these years CRS was present in the midst of riots, demonstrations, community conflicts, and marches – and even some stand-offs between armed groups – to provide racial conflict resolution and prevention services. CRS’ intervention resulted in millions of dollars of savings to communities from property damage and injury to citizens and law enforcement which were avoided. Its legacy of calming communities has become a permanent institution. CRS is a popular stop for many foreign visitors brought to the United States by the State Department and non-government organizations, trying to learn how to mediate racial and ethnic tensions within their countries. However, CRS remains a unique American creation.
The functions of the Community Relations Service represent the genius of American federalism and the use of mediating structures to put the tools of government close to the people. The Service helps local government and communities develop and implement their own solutions without creating Federal entanglements and in a very real sense the parties retain all of their rights and privileges to address conflicts and disputes peacefully as envisioned by the Founders of this Nation.
The Community Relations Service Mission Statement
42 U.S.C. § 2000g-1. Functions of the Service
“It shall be the function of the Service to provide assistance to communities and persons therein in resolving disputes, disagreements, or difficulties relating to the discriminatory practices based on race, color, or national origin which impair the rights of persons in such communities under the Constitution or laws of the United States or which affect or may affect interstate commerce. The Service may offer its services in cases of such disputes, disagreements, or difficulties whenever, in its judgement, peaceful relations among the citizens of the community involved are threatened thereby, and it may offer its services either upon its own motion or upon the request of an appropriate State or local official or other interested person.”
Highlights and Accomplishments
Overview of CRS Activities
In FY 2003, the Community Relations Service (CRS) opened 1,281 cases. CRS conciliation and mediation services were requested by Federal, State, and local agencies and elected officials, U.S. Attorneys, Chiefs of Police, and community leaders, who sought assistance to address racial tensions in their communities. CRS responded to escalating tensions surrounding the administration of justice, allegations of police use of force and racial profiling, hate crimes, major protests and public events, and conflict in schools, among other issues. In each case, CRS worked directly with affected parties to prevent violence, resolve conflict, and safeguard peace in local communities.
Responding to September 11 Issues
CRS deployed mediators to sites where threats or violence had occurred against Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans, and Sikh-Americans, or, were most likely to occur because of a significant presence of these populations. Sikh-Americans, who are neither Arab-American nor Muslim-American, but from India, were targets of harassment and hate crime largely because of the turbans worn by men.
CRS responded to tensions following attacks on Sikh-Americans in California, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. CRS arranged meetings between law enforcement, city officials, community members and Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American community representatives to enhance mutual understanding, and encourage cooperation and sensitivity in conducting civil and criminal investigations. CRS also facilitated meetings between Department of Justice officials and representatives of the Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American communities to address community concerns over civil rights protections. Community dialogues, forums, and cultural awareness and programs were sponsored by CRS to assist and educate citizens, officials, and law enforcement about the Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American cultures. These forums were effective in defusing racial tensions towards members of those communities.
CRS facilitated a series of educational law enforcement protocols for Federal, State, and local officials addressing racial conflict issues between law enforcement and Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American communities. CRS initiated “Train the Trainer” programs for community leaders to continue on-going seminars with their law enforcement agencies in the future. The program was provided by members of the Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American communities. These programs were held on: May 29, 2003, in Reading, Pennsylvania; June 6, 2003, in San Francisco, California; June 12, 2003, in Sayreville, New Jersey; June 26, 2003 in Miami, Florida; July 9, 2003, in Denver, Colorado; and September 25, 2003, in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Administration of Justice and Police-Community Relations
Approximately half of CRS’ case work in FY 2003 involved racial conflict over administration of justice and police-community relations issues. Significant cases of racial conflict between local police departments and minority communities involving allegations of excessive use of force and racial profiling were featured by news media across the Nation. High profile fatal police shootings elicited the highest community concerns over police use of force. Allegations of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies continued to be a major national issue raised by national organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Action Network, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA), National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA), and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Additionally, organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the National Sikh Coalition began to make regular public statements of concern about racial profiling of their members, along with other national, regional, and community organizations.
Increased seat belt awareness and the new national “Click it or Ticket” seatbelt ordinance campaign implemented across the country raised concerns of racial targeting, since minorities represent a large percentage of those who under use seatbelts and would benefit according to the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org). For African Americans, auto accidents are the leading cause of death from birth to 14 years of age, and the second leading cause of death from 15 to 24 years of age. For Hispanic-Americans, auto accidents are the leading cause of death from 1-44 years of age. For both African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, these fatalities are directly linked with seat belt use. CRS was asked to help pilot a campaign to reduce tensions over the implementation of the new seat belt campaign. On August 6, 2003, CRS, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Illinois Department of Transportation cosponsored the first of two forums on the new Illinois Primary Seatbelt and Racial Profiling Laws in Chicago, Illinois. The forum was held to promote awareness and understanding about these new laws and to minimize perceptions of discrimination. Two hundred and sixty invited leaders from the African-American, Arab-American, Muslim-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American communities and public interest groups attended. CRS facilitated a panel discussion and question and answer session to address racial conflict issues. This pilot set forth a model for the U.S. Department of Transportation to implement an education campaign with racial and ethnic populations in enforcing legislation nationwide to reduce traffic fatalities among the rapidly increasing African-American and Hispanic-American communities.
In 2003, CRS conducted hate crimes response training for police, prosecutors, and community leaders in a number of jurisdictions using a U.S. Department of Justice curriculum that CRS helped develop with a national working group. In every region, CRS participated in U.S. Attorneys’ hate crime working groups and worked with Governors’ and Mayors’ hate crime efforts. These services usually followed a hate incident or crime where CRS activities focused on promoting unity in communities by facilitating cooperative mechanisms for local law enforcement agencies and community groups to respond to and subsequently prevent hate crimes.
Protests and Special Events
CRS deployed mediators to major demonstrations and events at which high levels of community racial tension existed or might occur. Large annual gatherings of college Spring Break and Memorial Day weekend events in several locations across the country necessitated deployment of CRS conciliation teams for CRS contingency planning assistance in strategies for defusing tensions and building positive police community relations. For demonstrations, marches, protests, and planned events, CRS assisted local officials in developing local capacity to identify and reduce racial tensions, and facilitated meetings between law enforcement and participants to negotiate ground rules, marching routes and rally sites to prevent potential racial conflict. For example, CRS trained community friendship teams, volunteer chaplain groups, and event participants to take on special responsibilities to ensure peaceful and successful events. CRS helped prevent conflict at many demonstrations and events which were predicted to be quite volatile due to the high emotions of participants and the presence of counter demonstrators.
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, CRS has engaged in significant conflict resolution work, during the first quarter of FY 2002, and throughout FY 2003 as well. Conciliation activities focused on communities with significant concentrations of Arab-Americans, Muslim Americans, Sikh-Americans, and South Asian-Americans. In 2003, members of those communities continued to report experiencing personal fear, harassment, threats, and violence from angry citizens, including two shootings of Sikh-Americans, one resulting in the death of a service station owner in Phoenix, Arizona. CRS has continued to encourage law enforcement officials and city officials to publicize the penalties for hate crimes and to encourage tolerance. Also, clergy and community leaders were encouraged to stress tolerance, understanding, and peace. Likewise, CRS facilitated communication between law enforcement and the affected communities to reduce the anxiety felt by community members and to help law enforcement to be as sensitive as possible in conducting investigations in the affected communities.
Prior to September 11, 2001, law enforcement had relatively little contact with the Arab-American, Muslim-American, Sikh-American, and South Asian-American communities, but now find themselves in regular contact with them on a variety of levels. In response to repeated requests from law enforcement for information on how to approach and conduct law enforcement activities with these communities, in FY 2003 CRS collaborated with the Community Oriented Policing Services Program and Arab-American and Sikh-American leaders to develop a police roll call cultural awareness video to address potential cultural conflicts and misunderstandings between law enforcement and the Arab-American, Muslim-American, and Sikh-American communities. The video was completed and first distributed in September 2003. Since then, thousands of law enforcement officers have viewed the video and, subsequently, it is widely requested by law enforcement departments and organizations across the country. In an innovative effort to increase the availability of the video and reduce distribution costs, The First Three to Five Seconds video can also be viewed directly on the CRS section of the U.S. Department of Justice web site at www.usdoj.gov/crs. This is the first streaming video posted on the Department web site.
Schools and Colleges
CRS offered programs and services to schools and colleges for managing multicultural conflicts. These included CRS conflict resolution services, development of peer mediation teams, facilitation of dialogues on race, and cultural diversity awareness programs for faculty and students, and the development of school-community partnership programs. CRS also defused volatile middle school and high school racial tensions by facilitating student racial dialogue programs to engage students and school faculty and administrators in addressing racial tensions on their campuses. The CRS Student Problem Identifying and Resolving Issues Together (SPIRIT) Program, a structured two-day, student dialogue, was developed by CRS to defuse school racial conflict through problem-solving sessions including students, school administrators, school security officers, and law enforcement. It was used in Kansas City, Missouri, and Reading, Pittsburgh, and Dauphine County, Pennsylvania schools with particular effectiveness in eliminating racial fights, reducing racial tensions, and increasing racial understanding and awareness among students.
Church Burnings and Attacks on Houses of WorshipIn 2003, houses of worship were targets of hate. These incidents elicited suspicion and caused racial tensions in many affected communities across the Nation.
CRS provided conflict resolution and prevention assistance to local officials, law enforcement authorities, clergy, and other community leaders where these events occurred. Activities which involve multiracial and multicultural cooperation were used by communities to help unify affected communities and ameliorate racial tensions. These include community house of worship reconstruction, community fairs, interdenominational community dialogues, and broad-based faith services. Efforts to help citizens understand law enforcement methods and increase community cooperation with law enforcement investigations have also been effective in reducing community tensions and conflicts, increasing officer familiarity and safety, and furthering investigations.
Management and Budget
Comprehensive Review and Reorganization of the Department of Justice to Meet the Counter-Terrorism Mission
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 elicited a Departmental reevaluation of all programs, offices, and agencies. In FY 2003, the Community Relations Service met needs for increasing conflict resolution assistance within the parameters of the regular appropriation of $9.412 million.
Budget and Operations Requirements
The FY 2003 budget of $9.412 million provided 56 full-time positions including the national administrative and support office. There are 10 regional offices and four field offices. CRS is organized as an elite conflict response and prevention component of the U.S. Department of Justice. Most urgent requests are responded to immediately, however, some valid requests for assistance from local government officials and other constituents could not be met or were delayed, because there is less than one conciliator per state. Additionally, some responses to major events or disruptions required the temporary diversion of staff to other regions when the local staffing level was inadequate to respond to major events or disruptions. Many areas needing CRS assistance are remote communities lacking prior experience in addressing racial issues and ready access to conflict mediation resources available in larger urban areas. Additional travel time and costs are required to reach such remote areas.
CRS’ regional and field offices strive to maintain a flexible crisis response organization. This organization conducts ongoing assessments of racial tension and conflict and is able to be immediately available to communities, become familiar with situations which have occurred, and effectively resolve community racial conflicts wherever and whenever they occur. CRS also helps local communities develop and implement local prevention plans aimed at addressing identified factors tending to foster racial conflict in communities.
This year, CRS held two staff training sessions for all staff to enhance and refresh conciliation, communication, and media skills. A number of additional staff were also certified in conducting the Student Problem Identifying and Resolving It Together (SPIRIT) Program and the Law Enforcement Mediation (LEM) Program.
CRS Mission and Critical Functions Alignment with the Department’s Strategic Goals
CRS’s mission and critical functions align with the Department’s Strategic Plan, Strategic Objective 2.5, Community Services that support innovative, community-based programs aimed at reducing crime and violence in our communities.
Conflict Resolution and Violence Reduction: CRS provides conflict resolution and violence reduction services to communities that are vulnerable to or which actually experienced tensions, conflict, and violence arising from issues of race, color, or national origin.
Development and Improvement of Local Law Enforcement and Minority Community Relations and Partnerships: CRS has a longstanding practice of continually working to improve communication and cooperation between minority communities and law enforcement agencies. This activity is highly successful and consistently results in improved police-community relations, enhanced community confidence in law enforcement, increased security, and a reduction in potential police-community violence and conflict.
Development and Improvement of Local Government Preparedness for Civil Disorders and Unrest: CRS conducts ongoing assessments of racial conflict factors throughout the nation in order to carry out its mandate. As a result of its assessment, CRS then offers appropriate technical assistance in the form of model contingency planning, model training for civilian peace keepers at major events, and consultation on improving the readiness of State and local governments to respond to civil unrest and disorder, including potential violence and domestic terrorism associated with organized hate activity.
Development and Improvement of Local Conflict Resolution Capacity: CRS works to enhance existing conflict resolution and violence reduction capabilities in diverse venues and communities, including, but not limited to public schools, law enforcement, colleges and universities, so that local institutions will, increasingly, without the need for outside assistance, have necessary skills and tools to resolve racial conflicts, including youth violence. CRS helps create dispute resolution mechanisms, promotes the application of alternative dispute resolution methods to address racial conflict and violence.
Congressional Notification Requirement
The Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary and Related Agencies Appropriations Conference Report for FY 1999 included Congressional notification requirements for CRS. The report stated, in part:
“Close coordination between the Administration and Congress could help stabilize racially motivated local incidents. As the people’s body, Congress must be kept informed when the Administration responds to a domestic crisis. Therefore, the Attorney General is directed to notify the relevant committees whenever requests by local officials prompt the deployment of CRS personnel to mediate civil conflict.”
During FY 2003, whenever CRS mediators conducted violence reduction and conflict resolution activities, CRS notified the two U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative of the affected State and district, along with Senate and House Appropriation Committee staff members. CRS continues to meet this ongoing notification requirement.
Conflict Resolution and Prevention Services
In its nearly 40 years of experience responding to and addressing racial tension and conflict, the Community Relations Service has developed an unparalleled effectiveness in this field. CRS conducts ongoing assessment of racial tensions and conflict causing factors throughout each region, identifying steps CRS and communities can take to reduce or resolve the possibility of violent community reaction when racial incidents occur. In this process, CRS maximizes its resources by building local community capacity to identify emerging racial issues early and to address them before they escalate. Often, during the assessment process CRS becomes aware of emerging conflict issues, which, if addressed promptly, can be directed into productive, community-wide problem solving processes. While CRS works with other government agencies, law enforcement agencies, local government offices, human relations commissions, colleges and universities, school officials, Mayors, Governors, and U.S. Attorneys, CRS also responds to grass roots organizations and communities.
As one method of racial and ethnic conflict prevention and resolution services, CRS offers formal table mediation in cases where the parties wish to resolve specific issues. The benefits of the mediation process include a more prompt resolution than is usually available through the courts, an economical resolution to the conflict at hand, a voluntary process where the parties most familiar with the issues, not an arbiter, determine what issues they are able to resolve, and a process that promotes rather than destroys relationships and communication between the parties in a dispute.
In FY 2003, CRS conducted formal mediation in 62 instances which have served as models for other communities facing similar conflicts. Several of these were significant in resolving community racial conflict in the aftermath of incidents:
Law Enforcement Mediation/Conflict Resolution Skills Training Program
With four decades of mediation experience, CRS recognizes how valuable mediation skills can be for law enforcement officers. Mediation is a helpful tool for resolving community disputes and is an essential skill in community policing.
Building on the successful mediation for patrol officer training by Dr. Christopher Cooper at St. Xavier University, CRS cooperated with the California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission to develop the Law Enforcement Mediator/Conflict Resolution Program. The mediation program was designed to strengthen skills in law enforcement communication, investigation, and problem-solving in racially diverse communities. Participating peace officers were usually engaged in community policing activities, which directly impact community racial issues.
The possible advantages for law enforcement officers are reduction in repeat calls for assistance, reduction of violence and officer injury, decreased need for physical force, reductions in lock-ups and reports, improved minority community relations, and increased time for officers to respond to other pressing assignments. Communities benefit from closer cooperation with law enforcement and improved police skills for addressing interracial and community disturbances.
In the aftermath of community racial conflict and at the request of law enforcement, CRS provided law enforcement mediation training in Long Beach and Sonoma, California, Augusta, Maine, Boston, Massachusetts, New York, New York, Richfield, Ohio, Ada, Oklahoma, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Piedmont, Virginia.
For example, in Long Beach, California, at the request of the Long Beach Police Department, following the fatal police shooting of Rodney Tolbert, CRS conducted a Law Enforcement Mediation/Conflict Resolution Skills Training Program. Mr. Tolbert was an African-American man that some indicated he needed police to help in coping with on-going family problems and disputes prior to the incident that led up to his death. After extensive discussions at a community meeting following the incident, the chief of police indicated that he wanted his chaplains and peer support officers to be trained in mediation skills to help officers select alternatives to use of force. On June 11-12, 2003, CRS provided training to 14 sworn and civilian police personnel on mediation skills for POST credit.
Lewiston, Maine – CRS Intervention Through Collaboration
In early October 2002, a letter from the Mayor of Lewiston, Maine, to local Somali elders urging them to discourage further immigration to the city, because of its strain on the city’s resources was made public. It received immediate local, State, and national media attention resulting in public debate and events concerning African immigration and racial issues. Reactions from the local Somali community, immigrant advocates, and State and Federal elected officials was immediate. CRS responded with short-term conflict resolution assistance and assisted local officials in developing long-range strategies to address underlying sources of community racial issues, particularly refugee resettlement.
Earlier in the year, on May 9, 2002, the city had sent a report to the Governor of Maine outlining its efforts to address refugee issues and outstanding needs. Lewiston, with a population of 38,000 is Maine’s second largest city. Its population base consists largely of French descendants and French was spoken in town and in the schools up until the 1960s. It was not until February 2001 when the first Muslim-American Somali families moved to Lewiston that a community of color began to emerge. A mosque was established in a store front in November 2001. Media reports and rumors about the Somalis began to spread in the community that new Somali residents were receiving large housing and welfare stipends along with a car. Racial and immigration tensions continued to build in the community and emerged into the open when the Mayor issued his letter in October 2002.
CRS helped facilitate meetings between city officials and Somali leaders to ease the controversy before a planned Somali community march in response to the Mayor’s letter. CRS worked with the community to identify programs and strategies to alleviate tensions, such as establishing a city task force to lead and to coordinate reconciliation efforts, police and school staff training, and sponsoring a community dialogue on race relations. These strategies were instrumental in decreasing community tensions. Then, on October 13, 2002, at the request of State and local officials, Somali leaders and the NAACP, CRS provided conciliation assistance for a peaceful march and rally in Lewiston with 300 participants, which was a large event of this nature for this area.
CRS held further consultations with Somali leaders and city officials on November 1, 2002, resulting in productive discussions. The city established a joint response team to address any new incidents or tensions. On November 20, 2002, CRS participated in the first meeting of the Mayor’s Task Force on Somali issues in Lewiston. The task force was patterned on a CRS model for coordination and reconciliation developed for a city in Massachusetts, which had faced a similar situation of rapid migration and secondary resettlement of an immigrant ethnic group.
On November 4, 2002, CRS discussed the feasibility of holding a statewide immigration and refugee issues forum with the Maine State Attorney General to discuss an initiative to address statewide and longer-term issues. The Attorney General concurred with CRS’ recommendation to hold a forum. CRS and the Attorney General invited the newly elected Governor to cosponsor the program in February or March 2003.
As a result of national attention brought to the Somali community, in November 2002 the World Church of the Creator, a national white supremacist organization, applied for a demonstration permit to protest Somali immigration and settlement assistance on January 11, 2003. A community coalition called “Many and One,” which was organized after the reaction to the Mayor’s letter, planned an alternative event to encourage peace and tolerance. CRS provided contingency planning assistance to all of the parties to ensure a peaceful day and deployed a team to provide conflict resolution assistance to the several venues of rallies and event. There were 24 participants and 12 supporters who attended the World Church of the Creator Rally at the national armory. There were 500 counter demonstrators who gathered outside the armory. Local law enforcement also peacefully dispersed 100 demonstrators who gathered at City Hall to call for the Mayor’s resignation. No permits had been issued for a demonstration at City Hall and their appearance on this very tense day of rallies came as a surprise. A community rally in support of the Somalis was organized by the Many and One Coalition. Its participants gathered at Bates College at the same time as the white supremacist rally. All of the 3,200 seats in the Merrill Gymnasium were filled before the community rally began. Another 2,000 stood outside for two hours. Both U.S. Senators, a U.S. Representative, the Governor of Maine, the Attorney General and representatives of every race and ethnicity attended the Many and One Community Rally. Many of the attendees marched from the campus to the city’s downtown area and dispersed without incident.
To address longer term issues, CRS helped local officials and community leaders conduct community racial dialogues using volunteer facilitators trained by CRS staff. One of the recommendation from these dialogues was a program on cultural understanding of African cultures and the Islamic faith for Lewiston residents and city employees. The program which will be conducted with the assistance of Maine African and Muslim-American leaders is scheduled to begin in January 2004, during which time the city planned other cultural diversity activities to coincide with the first anniversary of the major demonstration of January 2003.
Benton Harbor, Michigan – CRS Crisis Response Intervention
On June 16 and 17, 2003, hundreds of African-American youths rioted after the death of Terrance Shurn, a 28 year-old African-American male. It was reported that he crashed his speeding motorcycle during a police chase from Benton Township into Benton Harbor. The rioting resulted in 21 homes being destroyed by fire and seven other homes, eight police and fire vehicles, and two private vehicles were damaged.
CRS deployed a team to Benton Harbor to provide technical assistance and conciliation services to the Mayor, City Manager, Governor, local police departments, congressional members and staff, city council members, clergy, and the African-American community. CRS provided advice on strategies for handling community allegations of police misconduct and conciliation services for the African-American community, law enforcement, and city officials. At the recommendation of CRS, local officials established a rumor control center, which residents in the impacted area could call for information to reduce racial tensions and address rumors that could fuel further violence. Officials also worked with CRS to form a “God Squad”, composed of ministers, parishioners, and other community members to patrol the community in the evenings immediately after the riots and to speak with residents, particularly young people, as part of a joint effort to keep peace.
CRS assisted with training self-marshals for an impromptu march to the accident site sponsored by Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. CRS also met with law enforcement officials, pastors, and ushers who would assist with the funeral for Mr. Shurn on June 23, 2003 to ensure the funeral would be conducted smoothly and not result in further conflict. The funeral was peaceful with about 600 people attending and a large media contingent that covered the event.
On June 23, 2003, the Benton Harbor City Council passed a resolution to have city and police executives work specifically with CRS to address racial issues. On June 24, 2003, CRS met with a representative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and residents to further assess the issues that gave rise to the riot. The Michigan Governor’s Office announced the formation of a committee to represent a broad spectrum of citizens charged with developing priorities and recommendations for addressing some of the problems that may have contributed to the racial tensions and conflict. On June 30, 2003, community leaders announced a program for 250 new summer jobs for youths aged 14-21 years of age. Then, CRS met with community stakeholders including the Ministerial Alliance, city officials, and the Council for World Class Communities to plan a joint meeting of the Chiefs of Police of Benton Harbor, Benton Charter Township, St. Joseph, St. Joseph Township, city officials, and the Sheriff of Berrien County and began to identify key issues, such as police chase policy, citizen complaint procedures, recruitment, and coordination of services that were perceived to be causal factors. CRS also offered technical assistance to the Governor’s Task Force sub-committee in developing recommendations for economic and recreational development to help them reach consensus through dialogue on prioritizing problems and developing solutions.
On August 4, CRS reconvened meetings between the Chiefs of Police from Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, St. Joseph Township, Benton Charter Township, and the Ministerial Alliance to establish a process to review and address the identified issues. Subsequently, to address long-term community racial issues in Benton Harbor, CRS was requested to serve as a technical advisor to the Michigan Governor’s Task Force which first met on July 8, 2003, and continued meeting almost weekly throughout the summer to develop recommendations on economic and recreational issues that were felt to be underlying issues of racial conflict. In the Fall of 2003, a plan of action was announced and implementation was planned for FY 2004.
Inglewood, California – CRS Intervention Through Contingency Planning
Inglewood, California, was the focus of varied community approaches to address the community reaction to a videotaped police use of force incident on July 16, 2002, in which Donovan Jackson, a developmentally-disabled teenager, was arrested and allegedly subjected to excessive use of force by an Inglewood police officer. The incident in Inglewood, an adjoining city of Los Angeles, prompted the memory of the Los Angeles riot in 1992 and the resulting $2 billion in property damage from a similar trial, served as the impetus for local government, law enforcement, school officials, and community leaders to focus resources on managing racial tensions and crowds through coordinated community and law enforcement efforts. In July 2002, CRS worked closely with law enforcement and community leaders to address crowd control issues, spontaneous community reactions to rumors, and flash points at a number of venues related to changing court hearing and trial locations for the trial of the police officer and his partner involved in the incident.
CRS worked to establish a task force of law enforcement officials, conflict resolution professionals, and municipal and community organizations to coordinate operational responses for public reactions to the officers’ trials and announcement of verdicts. This partnership was designed to address response to trial issues, and new flash point dates associated with verdict announcements.
CRS and the task force employed a number of strategies to improve race relations, build community capacity to understand and interpret nuances of the criminal justice process, and manage community tensions and crowds. These strategies included:
There was no violence despite intense media scrutiny, high racial tensions, and festering allegations of police misconduct against minority communities due to the extensive planning and coordination of government and community organizations, clergy, minority-oriented media, and law enforcement.
Shreveport, Louisiana – Intervention Through Partnerships
In June 2003, Caucasian police officers fatally shot an African American male motorist following a police chase, because they allegedly mistook his cell telephone for a gun. CRS provided conciliation services and technical assistance by local officials, clergy, and community leaders to address racial tensions and to help restore calm. CRS helped in preparing contingency planning for flash points, and assisted local officials, law enforcement, and the community implement strategies addressing long-term racial issues necessary for the improvement of police community relations.
CRS helped local officials prepare for a town hall meeting on June 23, 2003, which brought high mistrust of the police to the surface. When the Parish District Attorney ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide, the community expressed distrust of the criminal judicial system and tensions were elevated. Speakers at two community forums expressed concerns about police actions dating back to similar shooting incidents and racial strife about 10 years earlier that had resulted in rioting. CRS deployed staff to provide conciliation assistance to defuse tensions. Reverend Al Sharpton, a community activist and presidential candidate, held two rallies in Shreveport at a local church and the civic center issuing a call for a boycott of local business and gaming. CRS monitored tensions and served as a communication link between the demonstrators and police.
During the summer, the Chief of Police resigned and the Mayor made major changes to the Shreveport Human Relations Commission. CRS provided a briefing for the City Council and Mayor on positive and negative aspects of establishing a human relations commission as the council considered revising its human relations commission ordinance.
Later, in August 2003, CRS was requested to provide contingency planning assistance and guidance on handling the possible flashpoints related to the shooting, such as the release of an FBI investigation and the anticipated verdict regarding the actions of the officers. CRS worked closely with the law enforcement, the Interdenominational Ministerial Action Coalition, the Shreveport Human Relations Commission, and the NAACP branch. In September 2003, following the trials, CRS was requested to provide training for police officers and police community workers to increase cultural awareness aimed at improving officer responses to situations.
CRS also agreed to provide conciliation assistance to address continuing racial tensions and conflicts through FY 2004. Under this agreement, CRS assisted the police department in conducting a police community forum on October 2, 2003 to facilitate the free flow of communication between police and the community. Two months later, CRS assistance was requested by the police department in December 2003, when two additional incidents involving police use of force occurred. These two additional incidents renewed media attention to deadly force issues, and resulted in a campaign by media for citizens to directly report allegations of misuse of force by Caucasian police officers against African American males. Subsequently CRS facilitated a community dialogue and developed a communication strategy to help the community understand how to interact with law enforcement, publicize how police and the community leaders are working together, promote a police outreach program to students, and conduct law enforcement conflict resolution classes.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Intervention Through Mediation
On July 7, 2002, Donald Pete, an African-American male, was stopped by Oklahoma City Police Officers and arrested, during which time police allegedly used excessive force. The arrest was videotaped by a bystander and the video was aired by the national media. On July 18, 2002, CRS facilitated a community forum to discuss community concerns with law enforcement. Several hundred attended the forum. A community demonstration was held at the police station three days later.
In the Fall of 2002, city and police officials and community leaders requested CRS to mediate the community’s concerns and to develop resolutions. CRS convened four mediation sessions beginning on December 5, 2002 and ending on May 1, 2003. A mediated agreement was signed on June 19, 2003. It addressed community concerns over perceived bias-based policing and improved police-community relations and was endorsed by the Oklahoma City Office of the City Manager, Oklahoma City Police Department, the Concerned Clergy for Spiritual Renewal (CCSR), and the Oklahoma City Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The police department, clergy, and community leaders used CRS mediation to overcome barriers and mistrust that resulted from a videotaped police use of force incident to form an on-going partnership to carry-out a mediated agreement.
Through these mediation sessions, the Oklahoma City Police Department, CCSR, and NAACP agreed to develop a police community advisory committee; conduct an administrative investigation to determine any violation of the Police Department’s policy and procedures in the Pete case; review current use of force policies and procedures; review training on use of force, control, and defense tactics, review training on alternatives to arrest, review sensitivity and cultural diversity training; and broaden the police chaplain program through cooperation with the ministerial community.
In October and December 2003, CRS facilitated two follow-up meetings with the parties to assist in the implementation of three provisions of the agreement: chaplain program procedures; police operations manual revisions including policies for use-of-force, legal requirements, and ingestion of contraband; and the proposed structure for a community advisory board. As a result of CRS mediation, the parties have developed a working partnership to address issues of common concern.
Rapid City, South Dakota – CRS Intervention Through Training
On Sunday morning, March 10, 2003, a Native-American man was fatally shot by a Rapid City, South Dakota police officer. The family of the victim and Native-American organizations requested a civil rights investigation and demonstrations were planned. The victim had been shot several times after alleged failed attempts to negotiate and use pepper spray by the officer while waiting for back-up to arrive on location. CRS responded to law enforcement requests for immediate provision of conciliation assistance. CRS provided training to enhance law enforcement mediation and negotiation capabilities to prevent fatal conflicts between police and Native-Americans. On June 2-5, 2003, CRS provided two sessions of law enforcement mediation and conflict resolution skill training to 21 members of the Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington and Shannon County Sheriff Departments to address long-term conflict issues. The training was part of an urgent conciliation effort to improve police community relations after the a fatal police shooting. Law enforcement personnel were provided with skills to help address community needs and concerns. Law enforcement officials felt that use of a new approach in some law enforcement situations would decrease tensions, conflict, and levels of force used, while at the same time improving police community relations and officer safety.
Elizabeth, New Jersey – CRS Intervention Through Rumor Control
On July 14, 2003, CRS responded to televised news reports of a major fire on July 13, 2003 at the Dar-ul-Islam Mosque in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The racial and ethnic tensions in the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities have remained high in the post 9-11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom environment. CRS met with the Imam and President of the Board of the mosque, the Fire Chief and the Union County Prosecutor's Office, which was responsible for the investigation of the fire. While local police and fire investigators did not believe that the fire was an arson, news of the fire resulted in an immediate escalation of community tensions and fears among the local Muslim-American community. Rumors spread quickly to national Arab-American and Muslim-American communities through the media. CRS provided technical assistance to advise the media and communities to address local and national rumors that the fire was a result of a bias crime or arson. CRS assisted the Imam and Board President in coordinating an impromptu news conference at the Dar-ul-Islam administrative offices located several blocks from the mosque to disseminate accurate information about the cause of the fire and stopped the spread of tension-causing rumors. CRS also assisted the local Islamic leaders in planning a community forum at the mosque site on July 14, which gave mosque members the opportunity to receive a preliminary report from fire investigators directly from representatives of the police and fire departments, and the Union County prosecutor's office. This forum greatly reduced community fears and concerns. After an initial reduction of racial tensions, CRS helped establish an interfaith alliance to assist in the Muslim-American community's recovery from the fire. A second community forum was held on July 18, 2003, immediately following the evening prayer service at the mosque site, when more members could be present for an updated report from investigators.
Region I – The New England Region
The New England Region serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Boston, Massachusetts: On October 30, 2002, CRS cosponsored a "Civil Rights Summit" with the Greater Boston Civil Rights Coalition to address major racial and ethnic issues in Greater Boston at Suffolk University Law School. Participants in the Summit developed a plan of activities for the Coalition during the year in an effort to foster harmonious race and ethnic relations and to advance the progress of civil rights.
New Haven, Connecticut: On November 21, 2002, CRS participated in a Community Justice Dialogue Project in New Haven, Connecticut sponsored by the Community Mediation, Inc., Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP, and Junta for Progressive Action to prevent racial profiling by bringing citizens together with law enforcement to discuss issues related to racial profiling. Actor Danny Glover spoke to a kickoff breakfast for 90 leaders from city government and law enforcement. After the breakfast, actor Danny Glover, a Connecticut Supreme Court Justice, and a Quinnipiac University Professor were the featured speakers for a youth forum attended by 200 students who shared their experiences of racial profiling and how it affected their lives. CRS provided technical assistance for the advisory board that conducted eight community dialogues between October 2002 and January 2003. Additional dialogues were also held in the towns of Hamden, Woodbridge, East Haven, and Orange in January, February, and May 2003. Southern State University and Yale University also held dialogues in early 2003. Each of the dialogues produced specific action plans to reduce racial profiling that would be undertaken in each area.
Upton, Massachusetts: On October 15, 2002, CRS conducted a multicultural training program for teachers and staff at a regional high school in Upton, Massachusetts. The principal and staff requested CRS assistance after swastikas were spray painted on the rear wall of a local church and on school buses in Mendon, Massachusetts where many students who attend the high school lived.
Aquinnah (Martha’s Vineyard), Massachusetts: On October 16, 2002, CRS joined with the Massachusetts State Attorney General's Office in convening the attorneys for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head and the town of Aquinnah, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard Island in an effort to restart negotiations over the Wampanoag Tribal Council’s intention of establishing its own police force and to have its police and conservation rangers carry firearms on and off tribal lands. Both parties requested CRS to mediate the conflict. On October 24, 2002, CRS met separately with the Selectmen and Counsel of the town of Aquinnah and the Chair of Wampanoag Tribe. On December 10, 2002, CRS convened a joint meeting of the parties and continued working with State agencies in an attempt to resolve the dispute and prevent conflict while Native American sovereignty issues were being resolved.
Boston, Massachusetts: CRS cosponsored the New England Conference on Safe Schools/Safe Communities "Intervention and Prevention: Rural, Urban, and Suburban Perspectives for Our Schools and Communities" in Boston on March 24-25, 2003 as part of an on-going effort to address racial conflict in schools throughout New England. This was a major annual meeting of school officials from throughout New England to share best practices and strategies to manage their schools. In response to raising racial conflict in schools, CRS conducted mediation training for school resource officers and programs on hate crime intervention, bullying, issues of diversity in different community settings, and new trends in promoting safe schools.
Holden, Massachusetts: After a hate-motivated attack on a Muslim-American student in the Wachusetts School District in Holden, Massachusetts in April 2003, CRS assistance was requested by the School Superintendent and the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester to address racial tensions and to improve the educational climate in a high school and a junior high school associated with the incident. As a result of CRS involvement, the School Superintendent established a multicultural planning committee to enhance the school curriculum, provide training to teachers, and developed activities and programs to improve the school racial climate. The planning committee was composed of representatives from the African-American, Hispanic-American, Jewish, and Muslim-American communities. CRS facilitated the first meeting of the committee on June 11, 2003, at which the Superintendent charged the committee with reviewing the curriculum to ensure that it was inclusive of the nationalities, cultures, and races living in the United States, addressed intolerance and how intolerance leads to violence, offered ways to resolve cultural conflicts, and explained how to positively interact with people of other cultures. CRS facilitated a series of committee meetings in June and July 2003, which resulted in the development of classroom initiatives and web resources for teachers to promote diversity. In September 2003, the school introduced the “Responsive Classroom” curriculum geared to improve school race relations and enhance cultural activities to promote cultural understanding.
Charlestown, Rhode Island: On July 17, 2003, CRS deployed personnel at the request of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, to assist local law enforcement and the Narragansett Tribe at a demonstration by the tribe protesting a Rhode Island State Police raid of the tribal tax-free shop on July 15, 2003. The raid resulted in injuries and the arrest of eight tribal members. A video of the raid was shown by local television. CRS conciliated tensions that concluded with the Governor of Rhode Island apologizing to the tribal chief for the incident. The parties all agreed that the legal issues would have to be resolved by the courts. A Native American demonstration drew 3,000 supporters and was attended by representatives of the Governor’s Office. CRS will continue to monitor tensions and provide conciliation services while Native American sovereignty issues are being resolved.
Region II – The Northeast
The Northeast Region serves New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Trenton, New Jersey: On October 16, 2002, CRS was on location during a rally supporting the decision of the New Jersey State Poet Laureate's (the former Leroy Jones) decision not to resign his post. African-American advocacy groups from around the state organized these rallies and protest actions. The controversy stemmed from a reading of a September 11 World Trade Center poem which included references deemed anti-Semitic by area Jewish groups. In concert with the Governor, these groups demanded the Laureate's resignation. Many African-American organizations in support of the Laureate alleged that the call for this resignation was racially motivated. CRS convened a meeting of the principals to this controversy to prevent escalation of tensions. Public conflict between the poet and the Jewish organizations had already erupted. African-American advocacy groups vowed to march on the Governor's Mansion in Trenton, New Jersey if the Poet Laureate was forced to resign through pending legislation. CRS efforts worked to reduce community tensions from the demonstrations. The new Governor reviewed the situation, and subsequently, the New Jersey State Legislature changed the authorizing legislation for poet laureates, restricting political activity and the former Mr. Leroy Jones was removed as a New Jersey Poet Laureate.
New York, New York: On October 22, 2002, CRS co-convened a meeting of Arab-American-Muslim religious and community leaders with the New York Police Department (NYPD) at Police Headquarters in New York. Contingency plans were developed to address anti-Muslim protests or hate incidents during the Ramadan religious fasting season. The community also expressed concerns about physical security near the mosques. The NYPD agreed to provide additional spot-light patrols to assure public safety and protection of the buildings. CRS facilitation and on-going communications with both the community and the police were instrumental in helping to assure a peaceful Ramadan. More than 100 religious and community leaders joined with borough commanders and city command staff for this planning event.
Jersey City, New Jersey: On November 7, 2002, CRS convened a meeting with the Jersey City Mayor and key members of his staff and police officials at the Mayor’s request to find possible resolution of city racial issues. CRS contacted the Mayor about reported conflict over Arab and Muslim community issues. As a result of CRS technical assistance, the Mayor and the police department were able to strengthen relationships with the Arab-American and Muslim-American community.
The Mayor and police officials also requested CRS assistance to address on-going racial conflict among Hispanic-American, African-American, and Caucasian youths and their incendiary, boisterous conduct which was adversely affecting the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding the high schools. The Religious Alliance, established with CRS’ assistance after September 11, actively worked to reduce conflicts between ethnic segments of the community. CRS agreed to attend a school board community meeting on November 19, 2002, to help address the neighborhood impact of 2,000 teenagers leaving the high school campuses for lunch every day, because the schools have no cafeterias. As a result of CRS’ intervention with the Mayor’s office, school department, and police department, youth outreach and youth advisory committees were established by the Mayor’s office in coordination with the schools and police departments, which reduced the racial violence between students from two high schools and the surrounding community.
Buffalo, New York: On August 12, 2003, CRS worked with the Equity Assistance Center on the Buffalo School Safety program. CRS made recommendations for a proposed survey to include and review Emergency Response Planning to address incidents such as: large scale school altercations involving interracial students, high profile criminal acts that destabilize the school, racial/ethnic tensions, and other indicators that recognize tension. The proposed survey was sent to all the parties that participated in the June 23, 2003 meeting at the US Attorney’s office in Buffalo, New York. It was intended for the survey to serve as a guide for the program to focus on areas of need.
Long Island, New York: CRS provided conflict resolution assistance to local police and school officials, African-American and Hispanic-American clergy, the local Human Relations Commission, the County’s Youth Board, and other community leaders in response to racial tensions stemming from two fatal racially-motivated gang shootings on October 24, 2002. The shootings were between African-American and Hispanic-American youths. Roosevelt High School was closed for a day and CRS helped this community prevent further gang-related racial violence. CRS has made several recommendations and suggestions on this matter and met with the parties on November 2002. CRS recommended the establishment of a youth round table, which was created and has met every other month throughout FY 2003. The roundtable was initiated by the Nassau County Executive and included law enforcement, clergy, citizen leadership groups, schools officials, and local public officials from Roosevelt, Nassau and several surrounding jurisdictions to address African-American and Hispanic-American gang-related violence and its impact on the surrounding youth and adult populations. The roundtable has been institutionalized and is chaired by the Nassau County Commissioner for Youth Services.
Newark, New Jersey: On November 14, 2002, CRS attended a rally organized by the Jubilee Interfaith Organization in Newark, New Jersey to learn more about the organization’s efforts to gain support to create a regional organization and to develop an agenda addressing the impact of racism on social issues in urban and suburban communities. The Jubilee Interfaith Organization is comprised of 45 religious congregations and nine labor organizations from six Northern Jersey counties. More than 1,500 participants attended the rally consisting of mostly Hispanic-American and African American adults. As a result, CRS provided technical assistance for the organization in the planning and design of a racial summit to help resolve racial problems this spring. The issues included allegations of continuing racial profiling by State and local police, disproportionate use of discretionary traffic stops adversely impacting Hispanic-American and African-American youths, and excessive use of deadly force by local police jurisdictions.
New York, New York: On November 16, 2002, CRS provided on-site coverage of an Anti-Racial Profiling Protest rally and march in lower Manhattan. The protest, which was organized by a coalition of 50 community organizations and advocacy groups, was aimed at the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the FBI for alleged racial profiling of Arab-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans, before and since September 11. CRS coordinated communication between the umbrella group, the Coalition for Constitutional and Human Rights, the NYPD, and the Federal Protection Service during the protest and rally. Prior to the protest, on November 15, 2002, CRS helped the coalition address permit issues, self-marshaling, route for the march and other logistics. The protest was peaceful.
Queens, New York: On November 16, 2002, CRS was on-site in Richmond Hill, Queens, where 1,500 Sikh-Americans conducted a Sikh Awareness and Promoting Mutual Understanding event following fires at two Gurdwaras, in Richmond Hill and Palermo, New York. CRS assistance was requested. The parade organizers were concerned about potential disruptions by outside elements to their Sikh Awareness and Promoting Mutual Understanding event. CRS worked closely with event organizers before the parade and trained self-marshals to serve as informal security auxiliary to the local uniformed police and Department of Community Affairs police officers assigned to cover the event. CRS worked with both units of the local police department to identify the self-marshals and exchange cell-phone numbers between event organizers and officers in charge to assure timely communications of suspicious or potentially disruptive people or activities. The event proceeded without incident. As a result of CRS assistance, the American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee requested CRS intervention with the NYPD at the headquarters level. CRS convened a meeting between senior Sikh leaders and the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Community Affairs regarding issues of alleged discriminatory arrests, racial profiling, traffic stop incidents, and police harassment of Sikh-Americans. Several meetings were held and both parties gained a better understanding of each other and built a positive relationship.
In April 2003, more than 6,000 Sikhs held a parade with a float to celebrate the 533rd Anniversary of the birth of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in Richmond Hill. CRS coordinated with NYPD Department of Community Affairs and Sikh leaders to ensure a stable, controlled, and peaceful family event in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. Sikh leaders trained their own self-marshals for the event using CRS’ technical assistance materials.
Schenectady, New York: On July 9 and 11, 2003, CRS convened a series of separate meetings with the NAACP and police officials in Schenectady, New York. A June 2003 incident involving the detention of a 12 year-old African-American boy, which proved to be a case of mistaken identity by the police, exacerbated community tensions and antagonisms with the police. Press conferences and media reports with negative public comments added to the acrimony and severed communication between the parties. On June 24, 2003, CRS was on-site in Schenectady assessing neighborhood tensions with community leaders, church leaders, law enforcement and public officials and began community racial conciliation efforts to help lower racial tensions and prevent potential conflict. After its initial efforts to address immediate issues, CRS developed a plan to bring the parties together to seek an agreement as to how to re-establish more productive public and private communications and re-establish a more positive working relationship. On July 22, 2003, CRS intervention and conciliation efforts resulted in a mediation between the NAACP and the Schenectady Police Department.
On August 7, 2003, CRS met with the NAACP and the Social Justice Committee members to discuss and to develop guidelines for a proposed Police Advisory Board in Schenectady, New York, as the result of an agreement facilitated between the NAACP and the Police Department by CRS. The board reviewed existing police procedures and made recommendations to improve or enhance these procedures as it relates to the community as a whole and to the minority community specifically. The police department agreed to provide the board with its manual of professional police conduct. CRS agreed to provide models of other advisory boards and assisted the parties in development of their own guidelines.
Farmingville and Southampton, New York: On August 6, 2003, CRS convened a meeting with the human relations commission and the local precinct Commander along with his staff in Farmingville, New York to follow up on the July 31, 2003 “Responding to Bias Crime, Understanding Police Procedure and Community Trauma” workshop. One of the most pressing issues has been the location where day laborers congregate in the morning to get hired by local contractors. Currently, they gather in an area congested with traffic. The police have compiled a list of alternate sites for designation. We agreed to convene with the advocacy organizations and work out a way to address immediate concerns. Other resources were sought to help in this matter such as the local church and contractors. In FY 2004, CRS will continue working with the Southampton Anti-Bias Task Force and local officials in a number of cities and locales in Suffolk County for resolution of similar hate crimes, day laborers, and employment access issues.
New York, New York: On August 10, 2003, CRS convened a meeting with Sikh-American leaders from New York City and the Deputy Commissioner for Community Affairs at the New York Police Department (NYPD) headquarters to discuss bias incidents and communications vehicles with local police precincts across the city. Approximately 24 Sikh-American community leaders raised several concerns and complained that no enforcement action was being taken against perpetrators of bias-related crimes against South Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans, and Muslim-Americans. During the meeting, New York police officials explained how the Department responded to bias crimes and aggressively investigated them. CRS and the NYPD encouraged these leaders to reach out to other religious leaders and to visit their local precincts to address police officers about the culture of the Sikh-American community in the United States. The coordination that began with this meeting, led to communication and cooperation between Sikh religious and lay leaders and local police leaders to coordinate events around the annual parade in April and the other protest actions at the United Nations and the Embassy of India.
Region III – The Mid-Atlantic Region
The Mid-Atlantic Region serves Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Washington, D.C.: On July 18, 2003, a CRS mediation agreement resolving a dispute over the treatment of African-American customers in Korean businesses in the Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast Washington, D.C., was signed by representatives of the Korean Merchants Association, the Korean Coalition, the Asian Business Association, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the NAACP. They agreed to reduce tensions by mutual respect and courtesy between customers. Korean stores would comply with the health code, hire employees from the community, and improve communications through community dialogue. The mediation was prompted by allegations of physical assaults and verbal altercations between store customers and employees. In one incident, a Korean carry-out employee allegedly slapped a 9 year-old African-American female. Police arrested and later released the store employee. Daily protests against the store by the community began almost immediately leading both of the parties to request mediation assistance from the Community Relations Service.
Damascus, Maryland: On November 20, 2002, CRS continued conciliation work at Damascus High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, with the Principal and members of the County Executive's Working Committee. A review of school programs to improve student minority relations was planned based on the previous year’s report of racial tensions inside the school. At the school’s request, CRS had conducted a Student Problem Identifying and Resolving It Together (SPIRIT) Program which resulted in problem identification and recommendations for improvement that were adopted for implemention by the school. On November 22, 2002, CRS convened a meeting between representatives of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights and the Principal to consider student recommended race relations programs for teachers and management staff training, technical assistance and curriculum development.
Pennsylvania: On November 21, 2002, CRS participated in the Pennsylvania Inter-Agency Task Force on Civil Tension in Harrisburg to address hate incidents, hate crimes, and other race relations issues.
Montgomery County, Maryland: On November 21, 2002, CRS participated in the Montgomery County Police Department, African American Liasion Committee meeting to address police community relations, hate incidents, and crimes.
Dover, Delaware: On November 13, 2002, CRS met with school officials and community leaders of the Dover, Delaware community. This meeting followed tensions surrounding allegations of systemic racism in the public school system and allegations that the newly instituted statewide proficiency testing instruments are biased against students of color. CRS worked with community, school, and board officials to collaborate on developing new districtwide policies and procedures in addressing these concerns. The District formed a Diversity Committee to facilitate these changes. CRS provided technical assistance for the implementation of diversity efforts to improve race relations.
Towson, Maryland: On November 18, 2003, CRS met and provided technical assistance to the Director of Public Safety at Towson University, Maryland in review of the Department’s in-service training program needs and CRS resource programs to assist in improving student/ police relations on campus after student and faculty reports of police insensitivity in contacts with minority school members. CRS' Cultural Professionalism (Diversity) Program was scheduled for a future in-service training session attended by the University's safety officers. Continuing efforts will also be coordinated with the University's "Multi-Cultural Institute" to organize University seminars to address raising diversity concerns and highlight available school and surrounding support resources to assist victims and groups alike.
Linwood, Pennsylvania: Following an order by the Lower Chichester District Court to parties of a community dispute in the Spring of 2003, CRS provided mediation services over a 60-day period. The conflict, which began in April 2003, resulted in a request for CRS assistance from representatives of the NAACP regarding alleged harassment and threats against African American residents who had recently moved into a predominately Caucasian neighborhood. On April 14, 2003, the car tires of an African-American female were slashed. Chichester Police had been called several times to resolve confrontations between Caucasians and African-Americans. On July 9, 2003, CRS reported progress toward the resolution of an interracial neighborhood dispute in Linwood, Pennsylvania to the Lower Chichester District Court. The NAACP contended that the African American residents were being harassed by their Caucasian neighbors and filed suit. When CRS reported back to the court on its mediation with family representatives, the NAACP, the Lower Chichester Chief of Police, and the City Solicitor, the parties advised the court of their agreement to drop all harassment complaints and that communication and police-community relations have improved.
Region IV – The Southeast Region
The Southeast Region serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Miami, Florida: On November 3, 2002, CRS met with NAACP officials, representatives of the Community Relations Board, Dade County Elections Board Officials, and local and Federal law enforcement officials to coordinate and provide monitoring coverage of early voting sites in downtown Miami. CRS made a number of recommendations that were implemented. On November 4, 2002, CRS was instrumental in the development of contingency plans for a mass rally and march by the Haitian community to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) District Office protesting recent Haitian detention by INS at the Krome Detention Center. CRS assisted Haitian leaders in identifying potential problems marchers might encounter along the proposed route. CRS then met with local police and the Federal Protective Service, who provide security for the INS District Office, to advise them of the Haitian march and rally. Also, on November 4, 2002, CRS met with Federal election monitors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to review response systems and coordination with the Dade County Community Relations Board staff who were deployed throughout election sites. On election day, CRS met with Board officials and law enforcement in monitoring and providing conciliation services for racial disputes arising from the election process.
Butts County, Georgia: In October 2002, CRS began conflict resolution activities associated with heightened racial tensions stemming from alleged excessive use of force complaints against the Butts County Sheriff’s Department by an African-American community coalition called, Concerned Citizens of Butts County and the NAACP. On October 19, 2002, the community held a march and rally in Jackson, Georgia, to protest police activities. Reports that some African American organizers of the event were threatened by several Sheriff’s Deputies for participating in the march and this further heightened racial tensions. On November 16, 2002, CRS provided technical assistance to local officials and event organizers for a second community march. Racial tensions improved for several months until it was alleged that a small number of deputies had returned to earlier use of force practices that had originally brought CRS into the case.
CRS began conciliation activities in November 2002 that led to mediation in January 2003. When CRS convened the first mediation session between the Sheriff’s Department, Mayor, NAACP, and Concerned Citizens of Butts County, it was the first time that the parties had met face to face. Previously, they had only exchanged dialogue through the media. As a result of CRS mediation, they agreed to establish inmate grievance procedures, an inmate complain process, a new citizen complaint process, conduct a review of jail medical services, and a police community advisory committee.
Great Falls, South Carolina: The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) requested CRS conflict resolution assistance after a 24 year-old African-American male was fatally shot by a 24 year-old Caucasian male during a community disturbance in Great Falls, South Carolina early Sunday morning, June 29, 2003. A nearby resident, who was on his porch getting ready for work, was also allegedly struck by a stray bullet from the melee. Allegedly, a fight began when the victim approached a group of Caucasian males regarding an African- American female being in the company of Caucasian men outside two bars that sit next to one another. One is patronized by African-Americans and the other by Caucasians. Once the fight started, up to 100 patrons from both bars emptied out onto the street and joined in fighting one another over a two-block area. Local African-American clergy and the family of the victim called for calm in the community. CRS worked with law enforcement officials, NAACP representatives, clergy, city officials, and families of the men thought to be involved in the fatal fight to defuse racial tensions. Subsequently, in a series of community meetings, the city and community representatives agreed to create a police-community advisory board, a biracial interfaith group, and a human relations task force to improve race relations and develop an better ability to respond to future racial issues.
Riverdale, Georgia: In July 2003, CRS responded to a request from the City Manager of Riverdale, Georgia, to provide assistance in addressing racial concerns within the Riverdale Police Department. City officials were concerned about complaints of racial tension and harassment between African-American and Caucasian police officers and the potential for the conflict to spill over into the community and create tensions along racial lines. CRS met with community leaders and city officials to assess tensions. CRS agreed to conduct an assessment of the department’s race relations through a questionnaire for police officers and city employees from which CRS could suggest recommendations to the city to address the issues and concerns impacting race relations in the police department. The assessment was completed and presented to the Riverdale City Manager on December 23, 2003. Police officers and city employees identified fairness and equality, along with uniformity and consistency in policies and procedures affecting assignments, promotions, training, scheduling, equipment, and other rewards or benefits as issues of concern to officers. Recommendations included creation of an ombuds position, creation of a grievance procedure, training in communication, review of scheduling, implementation of a community survey on relations with the police department, and review of data on traffic stops.
Belle Glade, Florida: On July 29, 2003, CRS provided conflict resolution assistance for community tensions in the aftermath of the death of a African-American male, whose body was found hanging from a tree at his grandmother’s house in Belle Glade, Florida. Amid community tensions over the incident and rumors in the African American community that he had been lynched, a rare coroner’s inquest was held – the first in this jurisdiction in many years. CRS helped facilitate communication to defuse tensions over the fairness of the judicial process and the hearing. Through the extensive testimony presented at the inquest, the judge concluded that there was no question of the death being anything but suicide, but community concerns about the death remained and civil rights organizations drew national attention to the issue. Because the situation remained unsettled, many in the community still suspected foul play and alleged that the police were not doing their best to investigate the case. CRS will continue to monitor racial tensions.
Region V – The Midwest Region
The Midwest Region serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: On January 20, 2003, a Community Relations Service mediation agreement between the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Police Department and the Grand Rapids Community Leadership Coalition was signed resolving community concerns over perceived bias-based policing and poor police-community relations. At the request of the Grand Rapids Community Leadership Coalition (the Inter-Denominational Ministerial Alliance of Grand Rapids and the Vicinity, Grand Rapids Urban League, Greater Grand Rapids NAACP, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, Michigan Organizing Project and Latin American Services) and the Grand Rapids Police Department, CRS convened a series of mediation sessions from March to November 20, 2002, to improve communication and relations between communities of color and members of law enforcement in the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Through these mediation sessions, the Grand Rapids Police Department and the Grand Rapids Community Leadership Coalition have agreed upon 14 measures, including: establishment of a Chief of Police advisory committee, a traffic stop data collection program, an expanded citizen complaint review process, recruitment of police officers of color, creation of a community-based healing racism institute, conducting a citizens police academy training, ensuring police officer accountability, community service assessment surveys, and cooperation in resolving future community crises together.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: On October 3, 2002, CRS convened a meeting with the Sherman Park Community Association and representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s office to assess a September 14, 2002 Sherman Park incident during which 63 African-American youths were arrested for cruising and a September 30, 2002, incident in the adjacent Metcalfe community resulting in the arrest of 10 of 16 African-American youths for allegedly beating a 36 year-old man to death. CRS’ assessment of community leaders and local officials found that major sources of community problems leading to this behavior and underlying racial perceptions were: elevated school dropout rates beginning in the fourth grade, high unemployment for parents and youth, increased drug and alcohol use, a lack of parenting skills, and lack of after-school and weekend youth recreational activities.
On October 17, 2002, CRS convened a meeting with representatives from the Milwaukee U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Department of Labor, community leaders, and Wisconsin congressional and state senatorial staff in Milwaukee to address the sources of racial conflict and avoid further conflict between police and youths. The objective of the meeting was to discuss strategies to address recent violence, gang activity, and cruising in the predominately African- American Metcalfe and Sherman Park communities of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Several strategies were proposed at the initial meeting and a subsequent meeting on November 12, 2002:
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice which participated in the meeting with the Sherman Park Community Association and the U.S. Attorney’s Office funded a grant for $2.5 million to implement the proposed violence prevention programs.
Mahnomen, Minnesota: On December 17, 2001, news media reported that the Sheriff’s Departments of Mahnomen and Clearwater Counties were withdrawing from a community policing agreement with the White Earth Band of Chippewa tribal police. Tribal police were alleged to be spending more time on traffic enforcement than community policing and were needed to cover remote areas of the counties that were long distances for the Sheriff’s Departments. Unlike other reservations in Minnesota, the White Earth reservation has a large number of non-Native-American residents and who reportedly had made complaints to the Sheriffs. In the Spring of 2002, both CRS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota met with the parties to assess the issues. The White Earth Tribal Police were interested in mediation and the U.S. Attorney recommended CRS mediation to the tribe and Mahnomen County. The first mediation session was held in July 2002 with the tribe and Mahnomen County. The parties asked CRS to expand the mediation by inviting representatives from Clearwater and Becker Counties which also have agreements with White Earth and from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office to facilitate discussion about Tribal computer record access from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Through the mediation sessions the Tribal Police and Mahnomen Sheriff’s Department exposed the communication issues that led to the break between them, particularly the fact that many residents receiving traffic citations did not realize there was a tri-county law enforcement agreement, which had resulted in the original complaints. The parties reached agreements by November 2002, to finalize a cooperative law enforcement agreement between the tribe and adjoining counties of Mahnomen, Becker, and Clearwater. CRS continued to work with the parties in February and March 2003 to draft county and tribal police practices into procedures that would cover dispatch procedures, geographic staffing, highway patrols and citations, record keeping and sharing, training, cultural awareness, and administrative procedures. The county board members from the three counties held town hall meetings to explain improvements in the new law enforcement agreement to citizens before they were ratified.
On December 11, 2003, after 12 mediation sessions over a two-year period, CRS witnessed the signing of a law enforcement agreement between the White Earth Band of Chippewa and the Mahnomen County Board with both the Minnesota Attorney General and U.S. Attorney participating. The new 21-point law enforcement agreement included improved communication, cooperation in joint policing, and sharing of policies and procedures between tribal and county law enforcement. A significant provision in the agreement to improve communications was the formation of a law enforcement committee made up of Sheriffs from White Earth, Becker, and Mahnomen Counties that will meet monthly. Under the Retention of County Criminal Jurisdiction and Responsibility section of the agreement, White Earth officers were given primary responsibility for Naytahwaush, a tribal community on the reservation that has attracted high law enforcement attention due to gang and drug activity. The U.S. Attorney provided the jurisdictions with a $250,000 shared weed and seed grant to fight tribal gang activity, which is allegedly responsible for the distribution of methamphetamines sold in Minneapolis. The parties felt that the combined law enforcement effort would result in greater success in halting illegal drug distribution. Efforts to bring Clearwater County into the law enforcement agreement will continue in FY 2004.
South Bend, Indiana: On November 19-20, 2002, CRS conducted conciliation activities with the Chief of Police and local NAACP and its board members in response to heightened racial tensions stemming from a September 11, 2002, use of force incident involving a South Bend police officer and the son of an NAACP official. The NAACP called for an outside investigation of the incident and mediation of police-community issues which have been difficult for a number of years as result of a series of incidents. CRS helped the police department address racial issues and made recommendations on implementing an early warning personnel assessment system to help police supervisors identify potential problem officers.
Muncie, Indiana: In August 2003, CRS offered to mediate community racial issues between civil rights organizations and the city of Muncie, Indiana, and residents. The dispute was highlighted by an August 9 demonstration over the renaming of Broadway to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. The demonstration was planned to coincide with the annual Muncie Homecoming Festival which draws hundreds of former African-American residents. The Muncie Human Rights Commission advised CRS that the street naming controversy had raised racial issues that had lingered for many years. Earlier in the year, the Whitley Neighborhood Council, the Martin Luther King, Jr. “Dream Team”, the NAACP, neighborhood residents and clergy had worked together to get an ordinance passed through the City Council to rename the street. On June 2, 2003, the City Council voted to approve the change, then reconsidered the vote and withdrew the ordinance. The parties agreed to CRS mediation and planned several mediation sessions including four straight days of mediation on November 10-13, 2003. On December 5, 2003, the parties signed an agreement resolving the street renaming dispute, establishing a Martin Luther King, Jr., Institute, to carry out activities such as enhancing minority recruitment of city employees, encouraging diversity training for city employees, establishing a public safety community relations board, appointing of African-Americans to city boards, and creating a Neighborhood and Economic Development Corporation.
Cheboygan, Michigan: On June 10, 2003, CRS witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Cheboygan, Michigan and the U.S. Coast Guard. CRS provided mediation assistance to resolve civil rights complaints of discriminatory treatment brought by U.S. Coast Guard service members against Cheboygan businesses. CRS’ involvment was requested by the U.S. Coast Guard under a 1990 agreement between the Community Relations Service and the U.S. Coast Guard for CRS to help the Coast Guard in rural areas where service members of color experienced difficulties in accessing public accommodations. The MOU resulted in agreement for an annual chamber of commerce orientation for service members, a U.S. Coast Guard community service outreach program, and improved public service communication through the news media.
Region VI – The Southwest Region
The Southwest Region serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: On June 19, 2003, an agreement mediated by the Community Relations Service resolving community concerns over perceived bias-based policing and poor police-community relations, was signed by the Oklahoma City Office of the City Manager, Oklahoma City Police Department, the Concerned Clergy for Spiritual Renewal (CCSR), and the Oklahoma City Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). At the request of the Oklahoma City Police Department, CCSR, and NAACP, CRS convened community mediation sessions on December 5, 2002, through May 1, 2003 to improve relations between communities of color and members of law enforcement in Oklahoma City after the media dissemination of a videotaped police use of force incident involving African-American motorist Donald Pete that received widespread news media attention and caused community racial tensions.
Through these mediation sessions, the Oklahoma City Police Department, CCSR, and NAACP agreed to seven measures: developing a police community advisory committee; conducting an administrative investigation to determine any violation of the Police Department's policy and review of current policies and procedures related to use of force; reviewing training issues related to the use of force, control and defense tactics provided to police officers; helping officers to develop effective alternative responses to use of force in difficult field circumstances; sensitivity and cultural diversity training; and broadening the police chaplain program through cooperation with the CCSR and ministerial community.
Frisco, Texas: At the request of the Mayor of Frisco, Texas, CRS assisted in conducting a town hall meeting on July 17, 2003 at the Chamber of Commerce to address community concerns of Hispanic-American residents after the city conducted a survey of community needs. Hispanic-American leaders complained in the survey that: (a) the city has displaced low income residential property owners through expanded business zoning and subsequent home sales below market value; (b) the police allegedly violate minorities' civil rights; and, (c) the police department does not practice equal opportunity in hiring and promotions. CRS helped the city facilitate community discussions and assisted in overcoming the Spanish and English language barriers of those who attended resulting in improved community relations.
San Marcos, Texas: In September 2002, news media reported that an African-American City Council member would not return to council meetings until she got some answers about a gasoline spill that sent her and her son to the hospital in August 2002. It was alleged that hazardous spill procedures were not followed and that there was a reluctance to investigate. On October 30, 2002, a fatal police shooting of a mentally disabled Hispanic-American male robbery suspect, who allegedly attempted to ram officers with his car and who allegedly threw a knife at one of the officers raised community tensions. Representatives in the community say the robbery suspect was well-known and was often present at the convenience store, frequently helping to clean the store, where he had become involved in an alleged dispute over a lottery ticket having demanded his money and used his knife to threaten the clerk. Store employees called the police who gave chase through the Wallace Addition neighborhood where the fatal shooting occurred. Not until January 20, 2003 in San Marcos was CRS able to conduct an assessment of racial tension in the aftermath of these alleged incidents including the gasoline spill and the shooting at the request of city officials, NAACP, and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). There were also tensions resulting from conflict between community groups over an NAACP-sponsored Martin Luther King, Jr. protest parade and community meeting and a community forum sponsored by LULAC at which Caucasians made hostile expressions about racism in San Marcos. By the second evening, CRS had brought all of the parties together to reach a mediation agreement that resolved their issues. The mediation process had a big impact on community race relations.
Baytown, Texas: In FY 2004, CRS conciliated between the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Baytown Police Department resolving concerns about police practices and procedures. This will be the culmination of almost two years of conciliation and mediation following the fatal shooting of Luis Torres, an Hispanic-American, by Caucasian officers. CRS helped local officials and community leaders communicate plans and engage in contingency planning for protest in the form of a candlelight vigil and marches for the victim through two jurisdictions. Through mediation CRS helped the parties resolve complaints concerning officer disrespect to minorities, racial profiling, lack of community input for policing, and minority fear of retaliation for making complaints. CRS assisted the police department in reviewing its policies, practices, and procedures to help improve police relations with the minority community and resolve concerns about policing services, particularly the use of deadly force. Other issues included in the mediation are: a citizen review board, cultural diversity training, Spanish language training, a police youth advisory committee, updated police policy and procedures; feedback process for citizen complaints, a citizen advisory committee, and improved police and minority community relations.
Galveston, Texas: In March 2003, CRS conciliated racial tensions following publicized allegations that a Caucasian Galveston policeman and a police cadet used excessive force and made racial slurs while arresting six African-American youths for alleged felony animal cruelty. A dead mutilated cat had been found. Parents of the children and community leaders alleged that the internal affairs division of the police department failed to interview a number of witnesses who could have provided information about the dead cat and the children. CRS worked with representatives of the African-American neighborhood coalition, the NAACP, and the New Black Panther party, whose organizations were involved in protests at city council meetings. CRS also worked with law enforcement, local officials, and a district office of the local U.S. Representative to lower racial tensions.
Region VII – The Central Region
The Central Region serves Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
St. Louis, Missouri: In October 2002, CRS met with police and community leaders regarding a proposed Civilian Review Board (CRB) for the City of St. Louis. A consensus was reached regarding a conceptual framework for the oversight mechanism on October 15, 2002. In addition, the Attorneys representing the Board of Police Commissioners, the City of St. Louis, and Board of Aldermen were assigned the responsibility for drafting the terms of the CRB’s ability to investigate and structure issues. As the civilian review board organization and function were being developed, CRS provided conciliation assistance to a community organization, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, which had advocated civilian oversight for police for the previous 10 years and had talked about initiating an economic boycott in St. Louis patterned after the Cincinnati boycott. On October 22, 2002, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression held a protest demonstration in downtown St. Louis, during which protesters shouted slogans and attempted to carry a casket into the Mayor’s office. On October 30, 2002, a consensus was reached on the conceptual framework for the oversight mechanism. CRS provided training for law enforcement mediators to enhance the city’s ability to defuse conflicts.
Des Moines, Iowa: On December 12, 2002, the Des Moines Independent Community School District (DMICSD) and the Hispanic-American Community Advisory Committee signed an agreement mediated by CRS resolving complaints of disparate treatment of Hispanic-American students, who allegedly were being threatened with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) deportation. CRS involvement was requested by the National Conference for Community and Justice in Des Moines after receiving a complaint from an Hispanic-American parent about mistreatment of Hispanic-American students. Tensions in the Hispanic Community were high. Immediate steps were taken to address the issue of school administrators threatening students with INS deportation. The school district, following Federal policy, reinforced its policy that no district employee is allowed to contact INS about students. To address racial tension issues on campus, the school agreed to: develop a gang definition, establish a list of gang gestures, increase the diversity of the district curriculum committee, and develop of a strategic plan to improve Hispanic-American educational achievement with Hispanic-American community involvement.
North Kansas City, Missouri: CRS provided Student Problem Identifying and Resolving It Together (SPIRIT) training to administrators and faculty of five middle schools in the North Kansas City Missouri School District on November 18, 2002. SPIRIT is an assessment and student empowerment program that was used to identify racial/ethnic problems and address them to avert violent conflicts and to resolve racial/ethnic issues. The district implemented the SPIRIT Program in its three high schools and expanded the program to all of its middle schools. As a proactive effort to engage students in building cross racial and cultural relations, CRS implemented the first SPIRIT program in North Kansas City High School in February 2001.
Kansas City, Missouri: On November 19, 2002, CRS convened the first conciliation meeting between the Chancellor of the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) and representatives of the Hispanic-American Community of Greater Kansas to address Hispanic-American concerns about racism in the law school. The concerns arose after a Caucasian law school student e-mailed a derogatory poem about undocumented Mexicans to a law professor and selected students. The Hispanic Law School Student Association sponsored a diversity panel on November 15, 2002, to bring attention to the incident and tension created, because the Hispanic-American law school students felt that the university was not moving to address the situation. The incident created a hostile learning environment, they requested assistance from the Hispanic-American community. CRS assistance was requested by the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations (COHO). CRS convened a meeting with five UMKC representatives, consisting of the chancellor, her representatives and UMKC staff members, including the dean of the law school and five Hispanic-American representatives. The Hispanic-American group recommended that the chancellor contact area newspapers, including Dos Mundos, the Kansas City Hispanic News, and the Kansas City Star, along with area radio stations and submit a signed letter clarifying the UMKC position on the derogatory poem and the negative tensions that it created. The university did accept the recommendation and distributed a signed letter condemning the incident. Subsequently, the chancellor agreed to continue meetings with the Hispanic-American community to improve race relations and designated a representative to schedule future meetings with the Hispanic-American representatives for their input into UMKC's program development and operations. The participants were able to moved toward reconciliation on a number of issues. CRS worked with the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff to develop policies and protocols to be able to respond with quick appropriate responses for similar situations in the future.
St. Louis, Missouri: On July 17, 2003, CRS moderated a federal panel on Balancing Liberty and Security Issues at a St. Louis, Missouri, diversity conference titled, “Welcoming The Stranger: A Dialogue on Diversity and Acceptance.” The conference was part of a response to concerns expressed by the African Mutual Assistance Association (AMAA) on racial conflict, terrorism, and cultural issues. The panel included the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, the State Director for Homeland Security, the Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, the Chief of Police of St. Louis County, Missouri; District Director, Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI Special Agent in Charge for Eastern Missouri, and the Federal Security Director of the Transportation Security Administration. CRS participated in the conference as part of its collaboration with the Hate Crime Task Force of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Sikeston, Missouri: On August 8, 2003, CRS facilitated an open forum at a public school on diverse cultures and populations as part of an on going effort to help resolve interracial school conflicts which have occurred over several years. The superintendent has requested that CRS lead an interactive discussion as part of the school district's two-day administrative in-service program for faculty and staff. This was the culmination of two years of conciliation assistance provided to the school district and community.
Pender, Nebraska: CRS met with the U.S. Attorney for Nebraska, the Thurston County Sheriff, Omaha Tribal leaders, attorneys, and law enforcement officials in Omaha, Pender, and Lincoln, Nebraska from July 23-25, 2003 to resolve issues related to the boundary of the Omaha reservation and cross deputization of law enforcement that had resulted in continuing conflict between reservation and non-reservation law enforcement and citizens. Even though the parties were unlikely to resolve their long-standing disagreement on the reservation boundary, CRS was able to improve communication between these law enforcement jurisdictions and begin cooperation that would prevent conflict.
Region VIII – The Rocky Mountain Region
The Rocky Mountain Region serves Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
Denver, Colorado: CRS provided on-site conflict resolution, technical assistance and monitored racial tensions on October 12, 2002, during Columbus Day and a Native-American alternative event in Denver, Colorado. Beginning with early morning briefings with the Denver Police, CRS met with organizers and leaders of the Four Directions/All Nations March, a coalition of Native-American, Hispanic-American and community groups that have protested against the celebration and the recognition of Christopher Columbus and the Italian American heritage parade for years. In the weeks leading up to the event, CRS provided training for volunteer event marshals and also provided technical assistance to these groups concerning the exercise of constitutional rights of free speech and assembly in a lawful manner. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. from four different directions in Denver, the four marches with 3,000 participants, culminated at the Civic Center Park where the marches converged on the State Capitol for a rally on the Capitol steps. CRS accompanied the marches and was at the rally.
The Columbus Day Parade sponsored by the Sons of Italy as they kicked off at 2:00 p.m. with 3,000 participants. The Denver Police Department were out in force with 600 officers lining the parade route along with metal barricades. Almost immediately, the beginning of the parade was marred by incidents of smoke bombs, liquids thrown at parade participants, and yelling protests against the parade. CRS convened a meeting on the street of all security personnel from the Four Directions/All Nations March in which the Police Commander informed them of the restrictions that would be enforced and what was considered acceptable behavior by parade protestors. Respectful behavior and compliance with police directions was requested. The security captains agreed to the conditions, instructions were relayed to other security personnel and the parade proceeded with no further violence except for yelled protests and the display of signs. At one point along the route, a group of 100 individuals identified by law enforcement as the "black bloc" or anarchists broke away from the protesting organizations and ran toward the 16th street mall with the apparent intention of creating a disturbance. The group was disavowed by the Four Directions/All Nations Alliance. Police reacted quickly to contain the disturbance with only minor property damage and seven arrests. The Columbus Day Parade continued and ended at Broadway and 13th Avenue. CRS conflict resolution assistance increased the safety of the events for participants and helped local law enforcement protect the rights of assembly and free speech for all of the participants.
Boulder, Colorado: On October 23, 2002, CRS met with officials and students of the University of Colorado, Boulder to provide conflict resolution assistance arising from hate literature that was distributed on campus which targeted Arab-American and Jewish students. CRS subsequently coordinated activities with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights to facilitate dialogues between students and school officials and to train groups to address racial incidents on campus.
Sterling, Colorado: As a result of CRS mediation between representatives of Northeastern Junior College, the NAACP, city government, and police, Northeastern Junior College agreed to take steps to incorporate regular diversity training for staff, strengthen and increase visibility of racial and ethnic discrimination policies, and open dialogue with minority students to improve relationships on campus. CRS assistance was provided after several bias-related incidents and vandalism on and off campus were raised to CRS’ attention by the NAACP. Students alleged that reports of the racial incidents had been ignored by the administration. As a result of CRS involvement, college and local officials became more aware of racial concerns and took positive steps to improve communication and responses to on racial issues.
Englewood, Colorado: On November 6, 2002, CRS provided cultural diversity training for 25 new and experienced mediators of “Face to Face,” a county-based mediation program to address on going racial tensions and incidents. The training format was similar to one used for the annual Colorado Council of Mediators and Mediation Organizations earlier in the year. By building community capacity for mediation, CRS increases its ability to concentrate its resources on crisis response.
Riverton, Wyoming: On July 23-25, CRS met with the Riverton, Wyoming, Chief of Police and other law enforcement officials, Mayor, FBI, and U.S. Attorney at the request of the U.S. Attorney to provide technical assistance to the Riverton Police Department on assessing community tensions, providing mediation training, and establishing a Human Relations Commission. The minority community alleged that the Riverton Police Department officers frequently violated their civil rights, intimidated individuals, and used racial slurs when speaking with citizens. Subsequently, CRS trained 20 Riverton Police Officers on conflict resolution and mediation to enhance their community policing skills.
Denver, Colorado: On July 29, 2003, CRS met with the Denver County District Attorney in advance of his decision to issue a charge in the fatal police shooting of a mentally disabled African-American youth on July 5, 2003. CRS monitored community sentiment on the shooting and subsequent activities arising from the shooting. On July 30, 2003, CRS met with representatives of the Denver Chief of Police’s Office to discuss possible police crisis intervention programs and to propose the establishment of a peace ambassador program in anticipation of the District Attorney’s Decision to help maintain community calm in the wake of anticipated court actions in the trial of police officers for charges of excessive use of force. On July 31, 2003, CRS met with the Greater Metropolitan Ministerial Alliance of Denver, the Denver Police Department, community organizations (including the ACLU, Urban League, American Indian Movement), and city officials to explore solutions and resolutions to the issues emanating from the youth’s death. The parties agreed to post the Denver Police Rules and Policy on the Department’s web site and for the Ministerial Alliance to hold a community forum. On August 4, 2003, CRS met with the community forum planning committee to provide technical assistance on how to facilitate a discussion to help police in working with mentally challenged individuals.
Region IX – The Western Region
The Western Region serves Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, and Nevada.
Nickerson Gardens, Los Angeles, California: On November 2002, CRS was asked by of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) South East Division to mediate the provision of police services for the Nickerson Gardens Housing Development between with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and the LAPD South East Division. There was concern that intergroup community conflict and violence between Hispanic-American and African-American residents could trigger a community-wide disruption. CRS’ intervention came after an assault case involving a Latina and five African-American women suspects. The victim died several days after release from the hospital and the story generated news media attention. Budget cutbacks at the Housing Authority Police Department threaten to reduce their deployment and the new Los Angeles Chief of Police promised a larger focus on increasing racial gang violence in the city, even though there is a reduction of officers in LAPD as well. These and other factors provide for a very tense and explosive situation in the largest public housing development west of the Mississippi. On November 23, 2002, CRS brought community interests together with law enforcement and other agencies and defused some of the immediate racial tensions.
Inglewood, California: On November 7, 2002, CRS convened police and officials from Los Angeles City and County, the California State Attorney General’s Office, and City of Inglewood, to coordinate responses to the Inglewood Police Officers Trial Verdict and related events. CRS organized a broad-based task force for the Inglewood police misconduct trial verdict. The Inglewood Stop the Violence Coalition included the Mayor of Inglewood, several law enforcement agencies, and community organizations to outreach for their support and participation. The law enforcement coordination meetings were held separate from the community and faith organizations.
Tone setting messages for the community were implemented prior to the trial with a "Hands Across Inglewood" event on November 23, 2002. The principle message was to avoid violence and community disruptions related to the verdict. Churches were being organized and recruited to publicize non-violence messages during the trial period. Arrangements were made for as many churches in the community as possible to be open, participate in rumor control, and conduct dialogues to defuse racial tensions. The local coalition considered organizing a rally for the day of the verdict and to establish a controlled venue to direct public sentiment and emotion. Also being prepared is a pre-set venue and script for broader based rumor control and tone setting should disruptions evolve. Ancillary to the work in Inglewood proper is the work with law enforcement to monitor the potential for exploitive and opportunistic elements to act out under the cover of public upset at a verdict. This case ended with two hung juries from trials under California law and no violent outbursts because of the extensive community efforts to promote peace.
Honolulu, Hawaii: On October 21, 2002, hate literature was placed in the fenced parking area of the Islamic Center of Hawaii and reports of the incident circulated through national Muslim-American organizations. CRS contacted the Muslim Association of Hawaii that evening and was the first governmental agency to make contact with the mosque. CRS’ rapid assessment resulted in alerts of the incident to State and Federal law enforcement in Hawaii , which helped calm the community.
San Francisco, California: CRS responded to the October 11, 2002, outbreak of fighting on the campus of Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco. CRS has engaged school officials in a process to address community concerns and is working with them to review and refine their safe schools plan to strengthen joint responses to incidents by establishing clear response protocols. CRS also conciliated concerns and issues on the role and actions of law enforcement that some faculty, parents, and community leaders felt were excessive.
Davis, California: On May 8, 2003, at the annual joint meeting of the Davis City Council and the Davis Board of Education a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on partnership protocols between the Davis Police Department and the Davis Joint Unified School District for handling bias-related incidents and hate crimes on school campuses was approved. The City of Davis and the Davis Joint Unified School District invited CRS to provide mediation assistance in developing the MOU following the January 2003 arrest of a minor for committing a hate crime. While the protocols primarily concerned responses to bias and hate incidents, the greater goal was to reduce the number of hate crimes and bias incidents and to foster safe communities through cultural awareness and hate crime prevention. The protocols contained in this agreement provide a framework for quickly addressing incidents as soon as they are reported. They formalized the practices and partnerships of the Davis Joint Unified School District and the Davis Police Department. The protocols also identified training and services for increasing knowledge and awareness of prevention and intervention techniques to address hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents.
Los Angeles, California: On July 26, 2003, CRS participated in a Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division community open house at Normandale Park located at the center of a neighborhood where several gang shootings have occurred. Gangs have painted hate graffiti directed at African Americans who may venture into the neighborhood. The open house was preceded by a neighborhood survey to identify resident issues and potential participants for neighborhood restoration and reduction of gang and hate violence. Law enforcement as well as a broad representation of city and social service agencies and residents attended. One tangible result was identifying a core of residents interested in forming a neighborhood watch. Efforts to form the neighborhood watch were stepped up a few weeks later following the August 10, 2003, killing of an elderly African American by the Eastside Torrance gang. CRS helped staff from human relations commissions in nearby Gardena and Carson organize teams to work with local schools to reinforce neighborhood restoration. CRS also facilitated a racial gang violence reduction initiative in the area most affected by gang activity.
Lake County, California: On June 28, 2003, African-American community leaders, key public officials and the NAACP held a joint community meeting in Clear Lake, California, to discuss perceptions of unfair disciplinary actions against African American students in several Lake County school districts. It was alleged that students were removed from class rooms without parental notification and that some faculty and administrators were engaging in harassment and unequal treatment of African-American students. At this meeting, CRS made recommendations on effective ways for parents to resolve issues of concern with school district staff and dealing with community tensions in the aftermath of hate crimes. On August 6, 2003, CRS convened a joint meeting with Lake County Branch NAACP representatives and Superintendent of the Kelseyville Unified School District School Superintendent and the Vice Principal of Alta Vista Middle School about resolving racial conflict associated with hate motivated incidents at Alta Vista Middle School. Parents alleged that hate and bias motivated incidents against African-American students by Caucasian students were reported to school officials, but no actions were taken and later disciplinary actions were taken against African-American students who attempted to defend themselves in racially-motivated fights. On August 18 and October 15, 2003, CRS met with African-American, Native-American, and Hispanic-American representatives over concerns about hate incidents. Native American and Hispanic-American representatives did not have any specific incidents to report. On October 27, 2003, CRS facilitated a meeting of school officials and the NAACP representatives who identified and agreed upon strategies to address the problems which were identified. After a CRS presentation on memorandums of understanding and standard operations procedures agreements between schools and law enforcement to combat hate motivated incidents on and around school campuses, the parties agreed to work together to create a similar agreement for Lake County with an identified role for community involvement in the process.
Region X – The Northwest Region
The Northwest Region serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Port Angeles, Washington: The Coast Guard District Commander and senior staff members met with CRS staff on October 23, 2002, as part of the Commander’s racial climate assessment following allegations of racial harassment of Coast Guard members assigned to the Coast Guard Air Station in Port Angeles. This process was mandated in a 1990 memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Community Relations Service. Members complained of harassment at local businesses and restaurants in 2001. Other incidents were later alleged in 2002. CRS provided guidance on its Distant Early Warning System model that could be used by the Coast Guard to accurately monitor changes in the racial climate and to be proactive in addressing emerging racial issues. Many of the junior enlisted Coast Guard members assigned to the Coast Guard Air Station in Port Angeles were recruited from ethnic urban areas and their assignment to the remote Air Station on the Olympic Peninsula was their first experience outside the city. Conversely, the U.S. Coast Guard personnel assignments have brought local residents into their first contacts with minority urban citizens. CRS cooperated closely with Coast Guard officials, local officials, and community leaders to increase cultural diversity and understanding through a locally implemented program, in order to reduce perceptions of racial animosity towards Coast Guard members of color.
Pullman, Washington: On October 28-31, 2002, CRS provided conflict resolution assistance to Washington State University, the Pullman Police Department, and student representatives to help prevent further incidents between police and students. CRS assistance was requested by university officials following complaints by African American students that police unnecessarily used pepper spray on students in a September 8, 2001, incident. CRS helped the university establish a Student Police Advisory Board to resolve and prevent further conflicts between police and students.
Washington State: On November 13 and 14, 2002, CRS and staff from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington participated in the Washington State Summit on Cultures on Law Enforcement and Culture Awareness in Seattle, Washington. The conference was hosted by the Washington State Sheriff’s Association in cooperation with the National Crime Prevention Council and the Apostolic Clergy Advisory Council of Seattle. This working conference was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to be a model for other cities throughout the United States. Chiefs of police, Sheriffs, clergy, minority community leaders, youth, city, state, county, and Federal government entities who participated developed concrete plans to improve relations between police officers and communities of color in Washington. The increasing diversity of Washington and the Northwest has resulted in increased interest in cultural diversity as a means of reducing conflict between police and citizens.
Glossary of Terms
CRS uses certain terms in its publications to describe its activities. CRS descriptions of its work may appear generic and non-specific. Listed below are terms CRS customarily uses to describe a complex, difficult, and often emotional field working environment:
“Facilitate Communication” or “Open Lines of Communication” – Many communities involved in racial disputes, conflicts, disturbances, or violence often have experienced a history of poor communication among parties, which lead to misperceptions of each others actions, lack of trust, situations of conflict based on communication through the news media, and avoidance of face-to-face discussion. CRS provides conflict resolution services by listening to the issues and concerns of each party and learning from each party what the potential resolutions to the conflict might be. CRS’ task is to assist them using a disciplined and structured conflict resolution process. Specifically, the parties in conflict hear and understand each other so they may develop resolutions together. These communications may be in person, by telephone, email, or fax, over a substantial period of time. The fundamental building block to building trust is through communication. Communication has the effect of reducing tensions and establishing important relationships for community stability.
“Provide a Federal presence” – CRS deploys staff to be available on location when conflict resolution services may be necessary to resolve or prevent conflict associated with a march, demonstration, or community meeting. CRS’ deployment provides a Federal presence which is a stabilizing force for parties in direct physical contact with one another who also may be in conflict with one another. When CRS provides a Federal presence at the event, this usually represents a final stage of service. CRS facilitates discussion with the parties about effective contingency plans to reduce the prospect of conflict or violence. Providing a Federal presence at the event includes identifying CRS personnel to officials, law enforcement, and community leaders, so that parties can recognize CRS staff and call on CRS services. CRS staff wear distinctive official clothing, station themselves at critical locations, and also move through crowds. For example, the funeral for the victim of an interracial attack may become the focus of intense community attention. Small inconveniences, such as delays in access to the funeral site or procession to the grave site may suddenly trigger intense frustration and anger. The mere presence of CRS staff may be enough to prevent intense emotional behavior from growing into destructive conflict. CRS can improve communication between law enforcement and community leaders to help prevent conflict. CRS can also encourage restraint on the part of demonstrators that could lead to conflict. CRS provides a powerful positive influence when tensions are high – and could go higher – because of the emotions preceding an event. CRS’ presence gives the parties access to an additional option to avoid conflict and violence.
“Monitor Racial Tensions” – CRS may monitor racial tensions to ensure that tensions are not escalating and leading to violence. In some circumstances, when parties are not ready to use CRS services, CRS will step back and monitor racial tensions as the parties consider their next courses of action. CRS maintains contact by face-to-face meetings, email, telephone, or faxes to community leaders, law enforcement, and local officials in order to assess a situation and determine whether CRS services should be deployed. CRS may also monitor community racial tensions after services have been provided, to be assured that agreements are implemented and resolutions to conflicts respected.
“Provide Conciliation Assistance” – This is a comprehensive term to describe CRS’ conflict resolution and violence prevention services. Conciliation is a process by which CRS facilitates communications between the parties in conflict to reduce the likelihood of violence or disruption; lessen the effects of intergroup tension, suspicion, or distrust; or narrow the perceptions of adversarial parties so that they may engage in a resolution of their differences. It involves a variety of techniques.
“Mediation” – It consists of structured formal, face-to-face negotiation of issues around a conference table. In the formal setting, CRS mediation is a facilitated, voluntary, good faith negotiation among willing parties in order to achieve a documented agreement. Sometimes courts will ask CRS to mediate certain disputes, especially those involving relationships between community groups and public agencies.
“Technical Assistance” – Because of CRS’ long history and experience in resolving racial conflicts, it is often requested to provide expert materials, information, and other guidance to help communities resolve racial conflict and prevent violence. In some cases, CRS will provide expert technical assistance to help overcome a major barrier to resolving the dispute. CRS might provide technical guidance on the structure, functions, and programs of Human Relation Commissions, or the role and activities of an advisory committee to a school superintendent or police chief. These mechanisms can help improve police-community or school-community cooperation and relations. By fostering a sense of empowerment and building institutional relationships among racial and ethnic groups in a community through technical assistance that builds local capacities to address racial issues, CRS has found that community relationships can be enhanced for an extended period of time. CRS is effective in the use of technical assistance, because of its impartial status as a third-party outside of the conflict.
“Training” - Training is provided by CRS in response to an existing conflict to help State, local, and tribal governments and communities create an immediate capacity to address local racial conflict situations. Whenever necessary, CRS seeks to strengthen community capacity to address their own racial disputes by providing “on the spot” training.
CRS National Headquarters
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
600 E Street, NW, Suite 6000
Washington, D.C. 20530
202/305-2935 202/305-3009 FAX
CRS Regional and Field Offices
New England Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
408 Atlantic Avenue Room 222
Boston, MA 02201
617/424-5715 617/424-5727 FAX
Northeast Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
26 Federal Plaza, Suite 36-118
New York, NY 10278
212/264-0700 212/264-2143 FAX
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Custom House
2nd and Chestnut Streets, Room 208
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215/597-2344 215/597-9148 FAX
Southeast Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
75 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Room 900
Atlanta, GA 30303
404/331-6883 404/331-4471 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
51 S.W. First Avenue, Suite 624
Miami, FL 33130
305/536-5206 305/536-6778 FAX
Midwest Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
55 West Monroe Street, Suite 420
Chicago, IL 60603
312/353-4391 312/353-4390 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
211 West Fort Street, Suite 1404
Detroit, MI 48226
313/226-4010 313/226-2568 FAX
Southwest Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
1420 West Mockingbird Lane, Suite 250
Dallas, TX 75247
214/655-8175 214/655-8184 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
515 Rusk Avenue
Houston, TX 77002
713/718-4861 713/718-4862 FAX
Central Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
1100 Main Street, Suite 1320
Kansas City, MO 64105
816/426-7434 816/426-7441 FAX
Rocky Mountain Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
1244 Speer Blvd. Suite 650
Denver, CO 80204-3584
303/844-2973 303/844-2907 FAX
Western Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
888 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1880
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213/894-2941 213/894-2880 FAX
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
120 Howard Street, Suite 790
San Francisco, CA 94105
Northwest Regional Office
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
915 Second Avenue, Room 1808
Seattle, WA 98174
On-Line Report Availability
Community Relations Service Annual Reports and other publications are available through the Department of Justice Web Site at: www.usdoj.gov/crs
Community Relations Service
600 E Street, NW, Suite 6000
Washington, D.C. 20530
Help Resolve Community Racial Differences
Use CRS’ Conflict Resolution Services
Community Relations Service
U.S. Department of Justice
600 E Street, NW, Suite 6000
Washington, D.C. 20530
(Inside Back Cover)
CRS Customer Service Standards
Our goal is to provide sensitive and effective conflict prevention and resolution services. You can expect us to meet the following standards when we work with you:
We will clearly explain the process that CRS uses to address racial and ethnic conflicts and our role in that process.
We will provide opportunities for all parties involved to contribute to and work toward a solution to the racial or ethnic conflict.
If you are a participant in a CRS training session or conference, you will receive timely and useful information and materials that will assist you in preventing or minimizing racial and ethnic tensions. If you would like more information, we will work with you to identify additional materials and resources to meet your needs within three weeks of learning your need.
We will be prepared to respond to major racial or ethnic crisis situations within 24 hours from the time when your community notifies CRS or CRS becomes aware of the crisis.
In non-crisis situations, we will contact you within three days of when your community notifies CRS to discuss your request for CRS services or when CRS becomes aware of the situation.