Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. During his appearance, Holder responded to questions about mandatory minimum sentencing, the Michael Brown case, radical Islam and addressed critics at Fox News.
Holder touted declines in drug charges and prison population as a result of the “Smart on Crime” initiative.
Even though mandatory minimums have been charged less frequently under our new policies, the percentage of cases in which we receive substantial cooperation from defendants has remained exactly the same. This also holds true of the ability of our prosecutors to secure guilty pleas in these cases.
In the year before Smart on Crimes took effect, our prosecutors won guilty pleas in approximately 97 percent of drug trafficking cases, a year later, again despite significant reductions in our use of mandatory minimums this percentage stands at 97.5.
When speaking about the civil rights investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Brown by Officer Darren Wilson and investigation into the Ferguson Police Department, Holder said:
It is my intention to announce our determination to the decision we’ve made both with regard to the individual officer’s conduct in the shooting of Michael Brown as well as the pattern or practice investigation we’ve done into the Ferguson Police Department.
My hope is, as I have said, that we will do this before I leave office. I am confident that we will do that.
The outgoing Attorney General also discussed ISIL and how their followers are turned to radical Islam:
Either they are in prison and become radicalized, as we perhaps have seen in Denmark, or they are in their basements online. And listening,watching ISIL related propaganda that’s totally inconsistent with the reality of people who go to join the fight face.
We have to do a better job of getting that message out about people who go there and who want to leave because they have been mistreated. They’re horrified by the things they have been called upon to do. But I think this is a real serious problem.
Holder also hit back at Fox News for their criticism of the Obama administration for refusing to use the term “radical Islam.”
We spend more time, more time, talking about what do you call it as opposed to what do you do about it. You know? I mean really, you know, if Fox didn’t talk about this they’d have nothing else to talk about it would seem to me.Radical Islam, Islamic extremism. I’m not sure an awful lot is gained by saying that. It doesn’t have any impact on our military posture. It doesn’t have any impact on what we call it when the policies we put in place. What we have to do is define it not by the terms that we use but by the facts on the ground.
Listen to Martin, Francesca Chambers and Angela Rye discuss Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments in the audio clip below.
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