WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- In 2012, black men were six times more likely to be arrested than white men, Latinos two-and-a-half times as likely, according to data from the Department of Justice.
“This overrepresentation of young men of color in our criminal justice system is a problem we must confront -- not only as an issue of individual responsibility but also as one of fundamental fairness, and as an issue of effective law enforcement,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a video press release Monday.
The DOJ announced that it will award a $4.75 million grant to fund the collection and analysis of data on stops, searches, and arrests made in five U.S. cities in order to evaluate and address racial bias in the justice system.
“Through partnerships with community organizations and local agencies, the Center will build on the work of the department’s Smart on Crime initiative to help expand opportunity in neighborhoods that are too often characterized by distress and distrust; to reduce bias and discord; and -- ultimately -- to relegate the era of animosity and suspicion to the past,” the Attorney General explained.
Holder said the initiative is a response to President Obama’s call for fostering better relations between law enforcement and young men of color, and the grants awarded under it will align with the priorities set forward by the president’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program.
"Racial disparities contribute to tension in our nation generally and within communities of color specifically, and tend to breed resentment towards law enforcement that is counterproductive to the goal of reducing crime," he said in the video.
The program will be known as the National Center for Building Community Trust and Justice.