A judge ruled Monday to allow President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump in survey of Texas voters from left-leaning pollster On The Trail: Making sense of Super Poll Sunday Trump rebukes FBI for investigating supporters accused of harassing Biden bus MORE’s police panel to publish its report and recommendations as long as it includes a disclaimer that the report was drafted in violation of federal open meeting laws.
U.S. District Judge John Bates, who was appointed by George W. Bush, issued his decision after he temporarily blocked the law enforcement commission from releasing its report last month.
Bates initially halted the report’s publication after the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (NAACP LDF) filed a lawsuit arguing that the panel disobeyed the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires “advisory” committee meetings to be “open to the public.”
On Monday, he said he agreed the commission “certainly has not met FACA’s transparency and fair balance requirements” but added that “serious First Amendment concerns combined with other factors counsel against enjoining publication,” according to Reuters.
Attorney General William BarrBill BarrWhy it’s time for a majority female Cabinet Trump administration pressured federal prosecutors to settle investigation into Turkish bank: report DOJ shifts, will allow local police to wear body cameras during operations with federal agents MORE announced the policing commission in January to “conduct a modern fresh evaluation of the salient issues affecting American law enforcement and the communities they protect” after Trump issued an executive order, according to previous court documents.
The panel was instructed to “study crime—how we can reduce it and how we can restore the public confidence in law enforcement to its rightful place.”
The report was supposed to be given to the International Association of Chiefs of Police at the group’s annual conference before Bates blocked its release.
The NAACP LDF’s lawsuit claimed that the panel went against FACA by not allowing civil rights groups to provide input at public hearings and by filling the 18-member panel with only law enforcement officials.
The group said the commission was developed “to support President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s unfounded claims that there is lack of respect for law enforcement across the United States due to recent efforts to reform the criminal justice system.”
Reuters previously received drafts of the report through public records requests. Those drafts indicated the report calls for more police surveillance powers and due process protections for officers, without discussing systemic racism in law enforcement.
The commission was created a few months before protests over police brutality and racial injustice shook the country after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.