Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now” recently sat down with outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder for an exclusive one-on-one interview covering his tenure as the nation’s first African American Attorney General, criminal justice reform and what’s next for him once he leaves office.
In this portion of their chat, Holder discusses police community relations and then shifts to the struggle for voting rights in America.
Martin asked Holder how did he see this nation confronting the “uneasiness, this anger that exists between police departments and between community.”
Holder explained that he has been going around the country conducting “Building Community Trust” roundtables which saw him travel to Oakland, CA, Memphis, TN, Cleveland, OH, Philadelphia, PA and Atlanta, GA to deal with community relations with law enforcement officers.
Holder said the initiative brings community members, faith leaders, youth and members of the law enforcement community together “to talk about the lack of trust that exists in certain places” and to discuss the areas where the “trust has been eroded.”
“I believe the key to all of this is dialogue,” said Holder. He believes that members of the aforementioned communities should “get into a room and talk about the fears that they have as community members, but also listen to people in law enforcement about the fears that they have about the split second decisions they have to make and their concerns about being second guessed.”
“If we have an ability to bring people together to talk about these issues, I’m really confident that you can bridge the gap that I think exists in too many places around our country and bring law enforcement together so they have a better relationship with the communities that they serve.”
When talking about the renewed assault on voting rights in America and attempts to suppress the vote 50 years after the passing of the Voting Rights Act, Holder told Martin, “If you would have told me six years ago coming in as Attorney General of the United States, one of the primary concerns I would have would be of the protection of the right to vote — I would have looked at you with a strange look.”
“But that in fact is the reality,” said Holder.
Holder went on to discuss the ruling to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act saying, “I think the Supreme Court decision was wrongly decided.”
He also cited those states in American of “Taking advantage of that opinion to try to put in place measures that are supposed to involve the integrity of the vote, but in fact are political moves to try to make it more difficult for political opponents of parties in power to be able to cast ballots.”
He added, “We’ve been real aggressive and we will continue to be real aggressive … We will look at any measures that have passed by states that have the impact of having a negative impact on people simply seeking to do that which defines us as Americans — What makes this country exceptional, which is to give ordinary citizens the extraordinary choice to decide who their leaders are.”
Holder them emphatically said, “As long as I’m Attorney General … this is going to be a primary focus for my time as Attorney General and I would expect the same is true for my successor.”
Watch Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now” and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder discuss police community relations and voting rights in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.
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