Officials announced on Wednesday that former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch would advise New York Attorney General Letitia James during the investigation into the police response during recent protests.
“The right to peacefully protest is one of our most basic civil rights, and we are working without rest to ensure that right is protected and guarded,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “As we continue our investigation, I will continue to use every tool at my disposal to seek answers and accountability, and that includes calling on the sharpest minds to lend their expertise.”
This is not Lynch’s first proverbial rodeo. During her time serving under the Obama administration, she led a federal probe into the Chicago Police Department after the shooting of Laquan McDonald. Her investigation found that the CPD often responded with force that was “unjustified, disproportionate and otherwise excessive.”
“There is no greater responsibility of government than the protection of its citizens,” Lynch said. “It is time to examine recent events to ensure that all New Yorkers receive truly equal protection under the law. I look forward to working with Attorney General James and her outstanding team on these important issues.”
The investigation was sparked by complaints of unreasonable or excessive response by officers of the NYPD in the face of racial equality and police violence during protests sparked by the alleged murder of George Floyd by Officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department.
In addition, the probe will be advised by Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at NYU Law and faculty director for NYU’s Policing Project. In late May, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the investigation “a moment of reform,” asserting that “people deserve answers and accountability.”