According to the New York Times, the Justice Department has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Even as the DOJ has opened more than 20 civil rights investigations into local law enforcement practices, the department has staked out positions that make it harder for people to sue the police and that give officers more discretion about when to fire their guns. Police groups see Attorney General Eric Holder as an ally in that regard, and that pattern has rankled civil rights lawyers, who say the government can have a far greater effect on policing by interpreting law at the Supreme Court than through investigations of individual departments.
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