June 29, 2004 – About 120 of the territory's police officers recently completed a week-long course on civil rights law and enforcement.
The course, held June 7-11 on both St. Thomas and St. Croix, included instruction on what constitutes excessive force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Azekah Jennings said he could not elaborate much on the course content because it concerned sensitive law-enforcement matters. But he said that the 1991 beating of Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers is an example of excessive force.
Jennings said the Police Department requested the training. No police officials could be reached for comment.
Further courses on the same subject are planned, according to Jennings. "The intent is to do the entire Police Department," he said.
The recent offerings were aimed at educating police officers about federal civil rights law and their legal responsibilities under the law. The training utilized real-case scenarios to illustrate common issues with those types of investigations. It covered the roles played in investigations by the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the local U.S. Attorney's Office.
Instructors included attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the local U.S. Attorney's Office and special agents from the FBI.
U.S. Attorney David Nissman said in a release that the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency funded the training.
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