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Message From The United States Attorney: A Reinvigoration Of Civil-Rights Cases

As United States Attorney, I am committed to the impartial, aggressive enforcement of our nation’s laws. My Office enforces the laws protecting the civil rights of all of the people in our community, along with our responsibilities in other areas of law enforcement.

Attorney General Holder has made civil-rights enforcement a top priority for the Department of Justice. It is also a top priority in the Northern District of Alabama.

Civil rights work is being revitalized nationally. As examples:

• A $6.1 million-dollar settlement with AIG subsidiaries to resolve allegations of discrimination against African-American borrowers, reflecting an increased emphasis on fair-lending enforcement.

• The largest ever settlement of rental-discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act – $2.7 million dollars from the owners of apartment buildings who discriminated against African Americans and Latinos.

In the Northern District of Alabama, here is what we are doing:

• Civil rights cases are being handled in a unit headed by one of the prosecutors from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case;

• Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez visited Birmingham in April 2010 to begin a dialogue in our community about civil-rights issues. We are working to ensure that potential cases are promptly identified for investigation and prosecution when warranted by the evidence.

• We are aggressively investigating innovative civil law solutions to address issues such as unfair housing practices and broadening our focus to address environmental cases that involve social injustice.

As then Attorney General Robert H. Jackson stated in 1940: “while you are being diligent, strict, and vigorous in law enforcement[,] you can also afford to be just.” My goal is to enforce the law fairly to protect this community, while treating all people with respect and dignity.

 

Updated April 21, 2015

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