Berkeley Law student questions Attorney General Jeff Sessions about police brutality

Senate_Judiciary_Committee_Chairman_Sen._Jeff_Sessions_R-AL_makes_opening_remarks_to_a_panel_of_Department_of_Homeland_Security_officials
wikimedia/Creative Commons

Related Posts

Last week, a video surfaced of UC Berkeley School of Law student and U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, intern Sean Litteral asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions about how to address police brutality around the country.

The event Litteral attended was part of a series of lectures held for DOJ interns throughout the summer, one of which featured Sessions. After filing a Freedom of Information Act request, ABC acquired the video of this lecture that occurred in June, and the video includes a particular exchange between Litteral and Sessions:

“I grew up in the projects to a single mother, and the people who we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors but the police,” Litteral said during the event.

“That may be the view in Berkeley but it’s not the view in most places in the country,” Sessions said in response.

Litteral specifically asked Sessions about “consent decrees” as a way to hold police departments accountable in cases of excessive force. Litteral is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science and plans return to Berkeley Law in fall 2018.

According to Litteral, consent decrees are the “most effective way” for the DOJ to hold police departments accountable. A consent decree is an agreement between the DOJ and a police department that outlines specific rules that the department must follow.

“When will [consent decrees] become an available option again, and when can we get back to work for the communities that we care about?” Litteral asked Sessions during the event.

In response, Sessions did not offer an answer regarding consent decrees; rather, he directed his response toward public safety in neighborhoods.

“We care about all communities, we care about public safety, and we care about having neighborhoods — every neighborhood —  where children can walk safely in their communities,” Sessions said in his response.

Litteral described the negative, fearful perceptions of the police in Columbus, Ohio, the community from which he hails.

“A police car drives through the community and people run,” Litteral said. “Not because they’ve done something wrong, but because when the police come, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Growing up on the west side of Columbus, Litteral said he remembers being afraid of the police as a 16-year-old, including one time when several police officers allegedly pointed guns to his back “without cause.” Litteral said police violence is tied to poverty and race, and fear of the police is deeply rooted.

“These kind of things lead to scars,” Litteral said. “If the only time the government is coming around is to police us, (that’s) an issue. The government should uplift rather than police.”

Contact Matthew Lo at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @matthewlo_dc.

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • ShadrachSmith

    Well, Jeff said as kindly as possible, you like antifa better than cops, so you’re an idiot.

    Environmental factoid: Humans produce their weight each year in plastic, and twice that in solid digestive waste product.

  • lspanker

    “I grew up in the projects to a single mother, and the people who we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors but the police,” Litteral said during the event.

    In 2016, 232 black males where shot and killed by the police. In all but 16 if those cases, those young black males were either shooting or pulling guns on the police, or were refusing to put down their weapons when ordered by the police. In contrast, nearly 7,900 black males were murdered, about 90% of them by other young black males. Litteral is either stupid or lying when he claims that most people are more afraid of the police.

    • Jacob

      Perhaps they are afraid not of murder, but of arbitrary arrest. Police can do a lot of things short of murder

      • lspanker

        Show me any proof of “arbitrary arrest”. There’s plenty of crime – especially violent crime – going around in this country, to the point where in many major cities there’s a 10 to 15 minute wait on the phone if you have a non-emergency call. Despite the hysterical claims you hear from the local left-wing loonies, most of the police in this country are way too busy to run around making arbitrary arrests, which means transporting prisoners downtown to the local lockup, waiting for the Sheriff’s deputies to do the initial in-processing in most communities, doing the necessary paperwork, searching the vehicle used for prisoner transport to ensure there are no weapons or contraband left inside, and doing the paperwork on that as well. A typical arrest will take up 30 to 60 minutes of an officer’s day – that’s time that 99% of law enforcement officers would rather occupy on their beat or responding to calls. Cops don’t care to waste their time or anyone else’s making arbitrary arrests, and in some places, they would rather let low-level offenders go so they can spent their time chasing serious criminals. The fact that you believe otherwise show’s that you’re a hysterical and misinformed child, with no real clue as to what’s happening in the outside world.

        • Jacob

          what does any of that have to do with wrongful arrests? Police can arrest the wrong person, and they do sometimes make stops and arrests that are unjustified, and which disproportionately affect minorities. That is a traumatic experience for anyone. The speaker wanted to flag this problem for the AG. There’s nothing wrong with that, except in your right-wing troll brain. People disagree with you, kid, get used to it. And quit being such a contemptible, arrogant fool

          • lspanker

            what does any of that have to do with wrongful arrests?

            It has to do with ARBITRARY arrests, which were your initial accusation. You moving the goalposts again because you keep losing the argument, or what?

            And quit being such a contemptible, arrogant fool

            The only fool here is you, child. You’re compelled to peddle this absolute BS about “police brutality” when you have nothing in the way of facts or reason to back it up, then get all butt-hurt when someone called you on it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I wasn’t born yesterday, kid. I have been on this planet for over a half a century and seen and heard all this nonsense before.

          • Jacob

            I misspoke. However, wrongful arrest is just as traumatic for the arrested person as arbitrary arrest is. Don’t wriggle out of replying to the main point.

          • lspanker

            I misspoke.

            No surprise there, you do it all the time. How about stopping to THINK once in a while instead of feeling the need to regurgitate on cue every stupid left-wing talking point that has been stuffed in that thick skull of yours?

          • Jacob

            Brilliant retort there. Does that win you many arguments? And I only feel the need to respond to nutcakes whose paranoia drives them to attack each and every person whose ideas slightly diverge from theirs

            Lastly, there is a meaningful sense in which a wrongful arrest is by definition somewhat arbitrary. There is a difference, but it wasn’t the extreme error you want it to be

          • lspanker

            You think I’m worried about you winning an argument? I don’t see anyone here coming to your defense, given it’s clear they see you as a joke.

          • Jacob

            I think you are delusional, brainwashed and a troll.

          • lspanker

            I think

            Dude, you didn’t even get 3 words into your comment before you posted something factually incorrect. You don’t THINK. You FEEL, and mistake that for thinking.

            you are delusional, brainwashed and a troll.

            Better check your online dictionary, princess. I have presented facts, figures and arguments to support my position here. All you have done is whine and cry and tell me that I’m an awful human being. You’re the biggest troll in this forum…

          • lspanker

            Like most goo-goo liberals, you confuse arresting the wrong person with “wrongful arrest”. As long as (a) a law enforcement officer, based on the facts available to him or her at the time, has reasonable belief that some individual committed a crime, and (b) proper police procedures were used to bring that suspect into custody, that is NOT a “wrongful arrest” . It’s not the cop’s job or responsibility to determine innocence or guilt, merely to detain suspects based on probable cause.

  • California Defender

    “That might be the view in Berkeley but it’s not the view in most places in the country,” Sessions said in response.

    100% correct.

    It’s the Berkeley Bubble, a coddled safe place for the intellectually stunted to feebly ruminate in the choked air of their own disease.

    • lspanker

      Great to hear that Sessions verbally slapped the little cry-baby. The Cal campus and surrounding community are overrun with violent thugs preying on students, and all these doctrinaire little goo-goos can do is regurgitate the talking points of their loopy lefty handlers…

      • California Defender

        What is truly perplexing is how a Berkeleyite got an internship with the DOJ.

        I watched the video of the exchange and the student was arrogant, rude, and talked-over the Attorney General’s response.

        But I was heartened to see the expression of dismay by other interns and even some who laughed at the Berkeleyite who was clearly way out of his league.

        • lspanker

          Embarrassing that clowns like this represent our alma mater…

      • Jacob

        Sessions dismissed the point by saying “ah ha, you come from a place where people disagree with me.” He didn’t address the point, something he does quite often

        And now the raging rightists gah gah all over their leader and cry because he was criticized
        (Thought you’d appreciate something in your own belittling vernacular)

        • lspanker

          Sessions make it clear that the vast majority of the rest of the country doesn’t buy into the hysteria and histrionics of Berkeley. Now, if you think there’s an epidemic of police brutality somewhere, feel free to bring on the facts and figures to back it up. Otherwise, don’t expect to be taken seriously by the adults around here…

          • Jacob

            Do you deny that police brutality occurs? Ferguson, that shooting in Cleveland? Do you deny that people should be upset about it, that it is the DOJ’s job to investigate and prevent it? Why would it bother you if someone asked the AG what he’s doing to reduce police shootings? I get that it’s not your priority (not really sure what is…bashing anyone who happens to disagree with you, maybe?), but it is a priority to others.

          • California Defender

            What type of question is that? Nobody is denying that police misconduct can happen. But it is extremely rare and almost always dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

            The two cases you cited in Ferguson and Cleveland were not police “brutality” but justified uses of deadly force. And the question shouldn’t be how to reduce police shootings, but how to reduce civilian actions that result in the use of deadly force by police.

          • Jacob

            The kid in Cleveland had a toy gun. How is that a “justified use of deadly force?”

            And not one of those points explains why it’s wrong for a DOJ intern to ask the AG about the department’s policies for dealing with police brutality and the unjustified use of force in police departments

          • lspanker

            The kid in Cleveland had a toy gun. How is that a “justified use of deadly force?”

            Toy guns can look an awful lot like real guns under some circumstances. Who in their right mind waves ANYTHING that looks like a gun at a cop?

          • Jacob

            So you just blame the victim? A scared kid will do irrational things. A trained police officer needs to have the self control to NOT shoot on sight and evaluate the situation.

          • lspanker

            So you just blame the victim?

            Play stupid games, win stupid prizes – that’s the way it works in real life. Actually, I would blame his parents (if he had them) for failure to teach him not to do stupid and reckless things…

            trained police officer needs to have the self control to NOT shoot on sight

            Obviously you have never had any type of education and/or experience in any type of profession where lives are dependent on quick decisions. Police officers, just like firemen, aviators, professional race car drivers, etc. are taught to reflexively respond in certain situations, as it could cost them their lives otherwise. If a police officer isn’t trained to reflexively respond to a situation where someone else is pointing a gun (or something that looks like a gun) at him, he’s going to become a dead officer at one point in his career. Sorry you can’t understand such things, real life isn’t like the silly utopian constructs you were conditioned to accept and believe…

          • Jacob

            “Stupid games, stupid prizes”
            that is a disgusting statement you should be ashamed to have made. There is no point in talking to someone as heartless and cruel as you are.

            Cruelty masquerading as realism is no less cruel, only hypocritical

          • California Defender

            In all honesty, I don’t think the kid was playing a game. I think he would have shot the officer if the gun were real.

            This is the result of anti-police leftist propaganda and depraved inner-city culture that glorifies murder, rape, theft, drugs, and attacking police (or any authority).

          • lspanker

            I often wonder if people like Jason have ever witnessed, or been victim of a violent crime. He’s clearly a tool, and an example of why some of us consider liberalism to be a mental disorder…

          • lspanker

            “Stupid games, stupid prizes”
            that is a disgusting statement you should be ashamed to have made.

            Why, because your obsession with Utopian solutions to all problems is offended by references to reality?

            Cruelty masquerading as realism is no less cruel, only hypocritical

            Cry me a river, junior. The only “cruelty” being exhibited around here is by certain virtue-signaling, chest-thumping la-la-liberals who refuse to look at the facts, thereby ensuring that a solution to the problem they bemoan will never be obtained. Here’s a little example of laughable and contradictory positions you have taken in this forum so far. One one hand, you bemoan the fact that apparently so-called “police brutality” by allegedly trigger-happy cops has law-abiding citizens shaking in the boots. At the same time, you whine and wail about some kid who got shot waving or pointing a toy gun at the cops. Once again, If people are so damned worried about being shot by the cops, why would they display, much less wave around or point, ANYTHING that even REMOTELY resembled a firearm in the presence of the police? There are only 4 possibilities I can think of:

            (1) They are incredibly stupid (seems to be a lot of empirical evidence to suggest that).
            (2) They are suicidal or have some type of death wish (plenty of data points there as well).
            (3) They are disturbed, reckless, impulsive people who don’t make any type of connection between their actions and the consequences of those same actions (common with children raised in an environment lacking in discipline or proper parental guidance, as found in single-parent families with no responsible father figure at home).
            (4) They really aren’t scared of the cops whatsoever, so all the song-and-dance you have been giving us about communities living in fear is just the usual total liberal BS.

            So which one (or ones) is it? All of them suggest social, cultural and/or public health issues that need to be addressed and plans developed by competent, level-headed responsible professionals. Not one suggests that there’s any semblance of improper behavior or widespread abuse by law enforcement personnel…

          • Jacob

            Nice rant, bozo. Nothing contradictory in what I said at all. A kid who has no reason to expect a cop to show up is terrified and makes a sudden movement, causing a scared police officer to shoot. That kid did not intend to threaten the officer and was holding what he knew to be a toy gun. He did not threaten to shoot the officer. You can scapegoat a child to satisfy your ideological views of you like, or you can try accepting some facts for a change.

            And there is nothing utopian about a world with fewer police shootings. If you were less myopic, you’d understand that. Better people than you will keep working to improve our society

          • lspanker

            Nice rant, bozo. Nothing contradictory in what I said at all.

            Au contraire, you silly goose. You whine and cry that poor people are shaking in their boots in fear of the cops, while at the same time claiming that people are in the habit of pointing toy guns at cops. The cognitive dissonance is strong with you…

            That kid did not intend to threaten the officer and was holding what he knew to be a toy gun.

            And the officer is supposed to just know that automatically? How? ESP? Vulcan mind-melding? Do tell me…

            And there is nothing utopian about a world with fewer police shootings.

            Well, there would be a lot less police shootings if people didn’t do stupid, reckless, impulsive things in the presence of armed cops, would there? But then again, you’re not interested in real solutions to real problems, because your real agenda is to blame the cops for the ill-advised behavior of others…

          • California Defender

            He wasn’t a scared kid. He was pointing the gun (he intentionally removed the orange tip to make it look real) at random people who were scared and called police. The police told him repeatedly to show them his hands. He instead drew the gun at the police.

            Any well trained officers would respond with deadly force. If they didn’t, they should be reprimanded and sent back for more training.

          • California Defender

            Answer #1: The cop didn’t know it was a toy gun. Thus it was a justified use of deadly force as determined by the grand jury. Clearly, if the cop knew it was a toy gun he wouldn’t have used deadly force.

            Answer #2: The Berkeleyite wasn’t asking a question. He was using his 10 seconds of fame to attack the Attorney General. It failed because the vast majority of Americans recognize that police misconduct is rare, isolated, and appropriately dealt with. DOJ intervention is almost never needed unless manufacturing negative optics for political gain is desired (Obama frequently did just that).

    • Oakley

      I’m not ready to accept that fact that this is true in Berkeley

      • California Defender

        Berkeley has long taught and propagandized views that are far removed from the rest of America. This is nothing new. But the events of the past year, in particular, have brought into sharp focus the radicalism of Berkeley and the harm it is causing to students within their captive bubble. More so to public discourse and the freedom of speech as a whole.

        Perhaps this is partly why their rankings are dropping so quickly. And their employability is dropping even faster. I don’t know a single company in my field that will hire them as they come ill-equipped, under-prepared, and with a radical mindset that is a serious liability.

        • Oakley

          Thanks for the context!

    • Jacob

      Nice description of this comment section. The university not so much

      • California Defender

        Is that really what you meant to say?

        We are here out of the kindness of our hearts to illuminate the dark halls of Berkeley. Otherwise, these poor students would never be exposed to debate and discussion and continue on as captives of groupthink.

        We’re intellectual liberators.