U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will speak to local, state, and federal law enforcement officials at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Clifford Davis Federal Building in downtown Memphis, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Sessions’ speaking engagement with law enforcement will focus on efforts to combat violent crime in Memphis. In a speech last month, the attorney general included Memphis in a list of cities (including Baltimore, Chicago and St. Louis) where violent crime was on the rise.
Recent numbers from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission show a slight uptick in violent crimes in the first quarter of 2017 as compared to this time last year, but the overall trend of violent crime has steadily trended downward since 2006 — the first year the commission began gathering crime-related data.
In February, Mayor Jim Strickland announced that the crime commission would give the city $6.1 million for police bonuses. Neither Strickland nor the commission will say which private donors gave the money to the commission.
Sessions, a former Alabama senator, secured the attorney general position in spite of a contentious nomination process that drew attention to several allegations of racism in Sessions’ past.
Where do we go from here?
- Read Sessions’ speech where he called out violent crime in Memphis.
- Follow Just City Memphis, a local organization focused on smarter criminal justice policy on Twitter and Facebook.
- Read the Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission’s 2017–2021 crime plan.
- Check out the letter Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sent opposing Sessions’ nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986. Sessions was deemed too racist to secure the position.
- Catch up on Sessions’ extreme positions on marijuana, voting rights, private prisons, undocumented immigrants and mandatory sentencing.
This article first appeared on MLK50: Justice Through Journalism.