As protests against police brutality and systemic racism filled streets across the country this summer, a group of Black prosecutors in the nation’s capital began thinking about how they, too, could take a stand.
They shared the outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people at the hands of police. But the demands for change also sparked soul-searching about their own roles in a massive criminal justice system that some had been a part of for decades.
What began with a few emotional phone calls and emails quickly became a more organized effort of heart-wrenching, reflective Web meetings and detailed policy discussions.
In the end, 32 Black federal prosecutors in Washington signed a 10-page memo to acting U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin outlining changes they say will help ensure that prosecutors make the fairest decisions, void of nonlegal influences and biases.