by Aaron Klein30 Aug 2016
A leaked document from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations exposes the billionaire’s level of involvement in attempting to build what his organization describes as a “national movement” to reform local police forces across the U.S. The reform largely consists of federal guidelines for local police forces.The document identifies an opportunity in the police killings of African-American men in Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston, and Baltimore. It relates that the U.S. contingent of Open Society held a planning meeting titled, “Police Reform: How to Take Advantage of the Crisis of the Moment and Drive Long-Term Institutional Change in Police-Community Practice.”
The extensive memo further documents that Soros-financed groups and personalities influenced President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which last May released a final report consisting of 60 recommendations providing guidance to localities on how to modify policing practices
The information was contained in a 59-page report on an Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs board meeting in New York from May 7-9 of last year.
The document states that the Foundations’ U.S. Programs (USP) was seeking to use “this moment” – meaning the so-called crisis in policing following high profile shootings and charges of racism – to “create a national movement” for police reform.
States the board meeting document:
The document also identifies reducing incarceration rates as another goal of police reform:The federal government is seeking philanthropic support for a number of its initiatives. In addition to seeking support to advance the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Taskforce, the White House recently launched the Policing Data Initiative to explore how best to use data and technology to build trust, voice, and solutions to improve community policing. The Department of Justice recently selected the first six cities to host pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which was launched last fall to help repair and strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve by exploring strategies intended to enhance procedural justice, reduce implicit bias, and support racial reconciliation.
We are gaining a better understanding of these efforts in order to determine how best USP can use this moment to create a national movement. We have already had a set of preliminary conversations with about a dozen key stakeholders and will undertake a field scan to map the areas of work currently underway to advance police reform, including an assessment of the redundancies and gaps in work, and opportunities for collaboration. As we proceed, we will engage the funder network we helped to establish, the Executive Alliance on Men and Boys of Color, which now includes forty foundations.
The memo states Soros-financed groups and activists influenced Obama’s police reform task force. One of the nine members of the task force was Bryan Stevenson, identified on the final task force report itself as “Founder and Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative.” However, as the Soros document highlights, Stevenson also serves on the board of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs. The Foundations’ document also states that a number of Soros-financed organizations gave testimony to Obama’s police reform task force.The police killings of African-American men in Ferguson, Staten Island, most recently in North Charleston, Baltimore, and many other American cities, highlight that reform of policing policy and practice must be integral to our criminal justice agenda. Notably, while such reform activities are inextricably linked with our concerns about racial justice and equity, in particular about advancing opportunity for boys and men of color, they are also critically related to our goal of reducing incarceration, given the role that police practices play in bringing people into the justice system.
The document states:
The memo reveals a coalition of Soros-financed groups and other organizations advocating for police reform:Perhaps more promising is the taskforce empaneled by President Obama on policing, which developed more than 60 recommendations to provide direct support and guidance to localities on how to improve policing practices. (USP Advisory Board member Bryan Stevenson served as a member of the taskforce and a number of grantees, including NAACP-Legal Defense Fund [LDF], Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights [LCCHR], and others, testified at its hearings.)
Since the release of the taskforce’s recommendations earlier this month, there has been much discussion about how best to ensure effective implementation given the federal government’s limited authority to dictate reform at the local level.
It identifies Black Lives Matter as central to the national campaign: “Another layer of grassroots and youth-oriented groups like Freedom Side, Ferguson Action, Black Lives Matter, and Million Hoodies Movement for Justice are also advocating for specific reforms.”The events of the past several months have understandably led to a wide range of activities, including a variety of advocacy efforts, to respond to the significant challenges in policing that have been exposed and the opportunity to promote meaningful and lasting change. For example, organized under the banner of the Civil Rights Coalition on Police Reform, organizations like the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, LCCHR, and LDF are advocating for federal reform efforts with a particular emphasis on data collection and transparency and, as noted above, effecting federal funding streams. A variety of other national advocacy organizations, including grantees Advancement Project, PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the ACLU are working to provide advocates with toolkits and resources to help their organizing efforts. Locally based groups such as the Ohio Student Association, the Organization for Black Struggle, the Asian Law Caucus, and the ACLU of New Jersey, to name a few, are advocating for specific reforms at the city and state levels.
Earlier this month, Breitbart News first reported that another hacked Soros document confirmed that the Open Society last year approved $650,000 to “invest in technical assistance and support for the groups at the core of the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement.”
The Open Society also called for a discussion on whether it would be appropriate for the Soros group to try to “shape” Black Lives Matter in the future, that document related.
(Note: Emphasis added by this reporter in all quotations from documents.)