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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE As Trials of Waco Survivors Open in Texas, ACLU, NRA, Others Ask Clinton to Address Federal Police Abuses For IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 10, 1994 WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Rifle Association and other organizations from across the political spectrum today called on President Clinton to appoint a national commission to investigate serious allegations of abuse by federal law enforcement agencies and to recommend steps that must be taken to reduce constitutional and human rights violations by federal law enforcement personnel. Led by the ACLU, the organizations delivered a letter to the President in which they pointed out that federal law enforcement authorities now comprise close to 10 percent of the nation's total police forces. Some 53 separate federal agencies -- from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and from the U.S. Mint Police Force to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Police -- have the authority to carry fire arms and make arrests, the organizations said, a figure that represents an "enormous expansion in recent years in terms of both personnel and jurisdiction." "What is lacking," the ACLU and the other organizations said in their letter, "is systematic oversight and review of federal police practices." Such lapses, the organizations said, have led to serious allegations of abuse, including the improper use of deadly force, use of unreliable informants without sufficient verification of their allegations and physical abuse. The call for a national commission came as the survivors of the confrontation between the Branch Davidians and the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, went on trial in San Antonio, Texas. "Independent experts have already questioned the federal law enforcement practices that led to the tragic deaths of so many men, women and innocent children," said Laura Murphy Lee, the Director of the ACLU's Washington Office. "We, of course, recognize that the majority of federal officers strive, often under dangerous and demanding circumstances, to carry out their duties in a restrained, lawful and professional manner," Murphy added. "But at the same time, we know that the Waco confrontation was not an isolated incident." In addition to the ACLU and the NRA, the other organizations issuing the call include the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms; the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation; the Drug Policy Foundation; the Independence Institute; the International Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the Second Amendment Foundation. --endit-- ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher:// | American Civil Liberties Union National Office | | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"


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