Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump have had their differences. But there’s at least one things they are both passionate about: defending the police. Sessions—with Trump’s full blessing—is overseeing the dismantling of police reforms, including places like Chicago and Baltimore where federal probes have found egregious patterns of misconduct.
READ MORE: Jeff Sessions’ Blue Lives Matter Agenda
In a rare instance of policing the police under Sessions’ watch, the Department of Justice announced an indictment on Wednesday of an ex-sheriff’s deputy accused of planting a weapon on a suspect he fatally shot.
The case involves 51-year-old Walter Grant, who is now retired from the Bolivar County, Mississippi Sheriff’s Department. He allegedly placed a baton near the body of Willie Bingham, 20, after shooting him once in the back of the head after a car chase.
Grant claimed that he thought Bingham had a gun and shot him out of fear. But investigators found no gun on Bingham and accused the former deputy of planting the baton to justify the shooting.
According to the Washington Post, both Grant and Bingham are Black. Grant was indicted in 2015 on state manslaughter charges, but juries deadlocked on a verdict resulting in two mistrials.
“We’re just happy to know that the FBI picked up the case and we hope that justice is served,” interim state NAACP president Charles Hampton said Wednesday, according to The Post. “In law enforcement, whether they’re black or white, we’ve got to make sure they stop shooting our young men.”
Grant faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if he’s found guilty of federal evidence tampering charges.
Cases like this illustrate the need for Sessions’ DOJ to continue to hold law enforcement agencies accountable for their misdeeds.
In the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s 2015 death in police custody, an Obama Justice Department investigation concluded that Baltimore police regularly violated the constitutional rights of Black residents, through excessive force, as well as unlawful searches and arrests.