Two S.C. congressmen say South Carolinians must have a frank conversation about race and policing in an effort to curb incidents of violence like last summer’s slaying of nine African Americans at a Charleston church and shooting of an unarmed black North Charleston man by a white police officer.
To drive that discussion, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, invited S.C. faith and law enforcement leaders together Wednesday.
About 15 people participated in the private discussion at Brookland Baptist Church conference center with Scott and Gowdy – closed to the press to encourage guests to speak openly and honestly about their experiences, Scott and Gowdy’s offices said.
In an interview with The State after the meeting, Scott said he and Gowdy came up with the idea over meals in Washington, a place where the two friends and colleagues hash out difficult issues.Read More
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is part of a newly formed congressional group that is meeting this week to examine police practices in the nation.
Gowdy is one of the 10 congressmen who make up the group. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and ranking member Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., will lead the group, which will hold a private roundtable discussion Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The country was shocked last week by the fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, followed by the shooting deaths of five police officers during a protest in Dallas, Texas.
The goal of the working group is to discuss issues of police accountability and aggression toward law enforcement and work toward solutions.
Gowdy said he hopes to see an end to the killings. He cited the Dallas shootings as well as the death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man shot and killed by a North Charleston police officer last year.
He said the discussions will help leaders gain understanding about perceptions of the criminal justice system.
"We need to have candid, frank conversations first so we can understand people's perspectives, then see if there's a legislative remedy," he said.
Gowdy said trusting the impartiality of the judicial system is essential to communities trusting law enforcement.
He recalled his former role as solicitor in Spartanburg County and the difficulty in getting witnesses to talk to law enforcement in homicide cases. If there's a two-track justice system, trust within minority communities is diminished, he said.
Having a two-tier justice system in which the well-known avoid punishment while ordinary people are held accountable endangers the country, according to U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy.
That was one of the conclusions the South Carolina congressman said he drew after questioning FBI Director James Comey Thursday afternoon.
Comey appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to discuss the recently announced decision not to file charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her and aides' handling of classified information sent in personal emails.
Washington, DC - Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released this statement following the attack on the Dallas police officers last night:
“Our prayers are with the fallen police officers, their families, and the entire law enforcement community following the unspeakably heinous attack in Dallas. May God provide peace and comfort for those victimized and swift and certain justice for those culpable and may justice be swift and certain for all of those who take innocent lives.
Law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to the safety of others while putting their own lives at risk. Serving in law enforcement is difficult even on the days officers do come home alive. Today is yet another vivid reminder of how very thin and precarious the blue line between us and lawlessness can be.
In light of these attacks - and the tragedies witnessed recently - people of good conscience should link arms for justice, order, and respect for the rule of law, and stop the spilling of innocent blood."
81 New Witnesses, 75,000 New Pages of Documents Reveal Significant New Information,
Fundamentally Changes the Public’s Understanding of the 2012 Terrorist Attacks that Killed Four Americans
Washington, D.C. – Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after the committee’s Majority released a mark of its investigative report:
“Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.
“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.
“Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”
The committee’s proposed report is just over 800 pages long and is comprised of five primary sections and 12 appendices. It details relevant events in 2011 and 2012.
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:
Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“We expect our government to make every effort to save the lives of Americans who serve in harm’s way. That did not happen in Benghazi. Politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans, and while the administration had made excuses and blamed the challenges posed by time and distance, the truth is that they did not try.”
Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“Our committee’s insistence on additional information about the military’s response to the Benghazi attacks was met with strong opposition from the Defense Department, and now we know why. Instead of attempting to hide deficiencies in our posture and performance, it’s my hope our report will help ensure we fix what went wrong so that a tragedy like this never happens again.”
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part II:
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”
Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews.”
The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III:
Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’”
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) released the following statement regarding these findings:
“One of the most concerning parts of the State Department’s policy in Libya was its reliance upon the militias of an unstable nation to protect our men and women in Benghazi. These were by no means forces that could adequately protect Americans on the ground, and the State Department knew it. But the appearance of no boots on the ground was more important to the administration.”
Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee’s requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses regarding Benghazi and Libya, and details what the Obama administration provided to Congress, what it is still withholding, and how its serial delays hindered the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth.
Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community and Congress aimed at strengthening security for American personnel serving abroad and doing everything possible to ensure something like Benghazi never happens again, and if it does, that we are better prepared to respond, the majority make a series of recommendations.
The Select Committee intends to convene a bipartisan markup to discuss and vote on the proposed report on July 8, 2016. All members of the committee will have the opportunity to offer changes in a manner consistent with the rules of the House.
Below is the full report with links to PDF files of each section.
One year ago today our nation witnessed an unspeakably heinous shooting in what many of us consider to be our safe haven – a house of worship. Last Sunday, we experienced tragedy once again during the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando. Our hearts ache for the lives lost during both terrible events.
Following the Charleston shooting, South Carolina witnessed a cognizable, demonstrated capacity to forgive in the face of unfathomable tragedy. The capacity and desire to do so existed before both the shootings at Emanuel and the shooting of Mr. Walter Scott by a police officer, but that capacity was demonstrated fully, publicly and nationally by the families of the victims, the members of Emanuel Church, the family of Mr. Scott, and people of good conscience all across South Carolina.
On the Sunday following the shootings in Charleston, I decided to attend a church pastored by my long time friend Dr. Charles J.J. Jackson at Cornerstone. Pastor Jackson did not know I was coming – I just decided at the last minute that is where I would go. As soon as I entered the church, an African-American couple asked me to sit with them as their guest. They did not know anything about me other than I was a visitor at their church – a single, white visitor at an African-American church not unlike the defendant himself in Charleston a few days earlier. This couple's faith, their capacity to assume the best, and their willingness to welcome a stranger was remarkably on full display even before the funerals in Charleston had even taken place.
I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but I can speak for South Carolina when I say there is a renewed sense that what binds us together far exceeds whatever may separate us. There is both a desire and a fresh realization that our energies are best spent on those things we have in common rather than focusing on what divides.
May we take a moment today to mourn the loss of the victims in both the Charleston and Orlando shootings. And as we begin to heal, may our nation continue to remember – what binds us together far exceeds whatever may separate us.Read More
Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) issued the following statement in remembrance of the lives tragically lost one year ago today at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina:
“One year ago today our nation witnessed an unspeakably heinous shooting when nine innocent lives were tragically taken in a house of worship. We continue to pray for the victims’ families and loved ones and stand alongside them as they continue to heal from this horrific tragedy.
Following the shooting in Charleston, South Carolinians experienced a cognizable, demonstrated capacity to forgive in the face of unfathomable tragedy. We witnessed a fresh realization that our energies are best spent on those things we have in common rather than focusing on what divides.
As our hearts continue to ache following this unspeakable tragedy, may we take a moment today to mourn the loss of the victims in both Charleston and Orlando. And as we begin to heal, may our nation continue to remember – what binds us together far exceeds whatever may separate us.
Washington, DC - Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday the Justice Department will seek the death penalty against Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof:
"DOJ made the right decision to seek the death penalty in the murder of nine South Carolinians. Crimes that shock the collective community conscience deserve society’s most severe punishment."
In case you missed it: my op-ed in USA Today in celebration of National Police Week.
S.C. cop's life, death reflected deep call to serve: Column
By Trey Gowdy
The celebration of National Police Week, which ends May 21, provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on the life of Greenville Police Department Officer Allen Jacobs and the lives of other police officers who were tragically killed while heroically serving in the line of duty.
Like the deaths of South Carolina officers Kevin Carper, Russ Sorrow, Eric Nicholson, Marcus Whitfield and other officers nationwide who have been killed in the line of duty, Jacobs' death reminds us that serving and protecting in uniform is a dangerous, sometimes lethal, job. In 2015, our nation mourned the loss of 128 police officers. This year, the nation has already lost 35 officers.
Jacobs was going to be a father again. He was already the father of two precious little boys, but this summer he and his wife, Meghan, were expecting a baby girl.
Life prepared Jacobs well to be a father. He was an outstanding student and athlete growing up in the Upstate of South Carolina. He put that athleticism and intelligence to work serving our country in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq for 15 months and even volunteered to live in Baghdad, because he understood all people want to live in a peaceful and secure environment.
But the tug of fatherhood is strong, so he decided to return to South Carolina. His desire to protect and serve others never dissipated. He left the uniform of the U.S. Army for the uniform of the Greenville Police Department, and he pursued that calling with the same vigor and professionalism that epitomized every facet of his life.
Jacobs was a strong man. He survived boot camp, Iraq, Haiti and police officer training. But he would not survive an encounter with a teenage gang member just released from jail. Jacobs never even had the chance to pull out his weapon.
Greenville suffered a tremendous loss when Jacobs was killed. What we learned in the aftermath of this tragedy is that the loss was felt all across the country. Jacobs' funeral brought officers from across the region to honor his service as well as scores of citizens paying their respect.
Law enforcement officers courageously propel themselves toward danger while others have the luxury of running from it. Officers dedicate their lives to the safety of others while putting their own lives at risk. Officers deal daily with people and incidents most of us prefer to avoid, all the while missing out on some of life's more precious experiences because crime does not sleep so neither can they.
I urge our communities to take a moment to consider what our lives would look like without the protection of law enforcement. I also encourage people to never miss a chance to thank officers and their families for doing a job that is sometimes only fully noticed when a father like Jacobs is killed in the line of duty.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is a former prosecutor.
Read the original article here.Read More
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) have pressed Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to make New Orleans a sanctuary city.
In 2010, the mayor of the City of New Orleans requested DOJ to “reform” the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). In 2011, officials at DOJ’s Civil Division threatened NOPD with a civil rights lawsuit, which led to a consent decree in 2012. As part of the consent decree, NOPD officers were prevented from considering an individual’s immigration status when performing their law enforcement duties. In February 2016, NOPD enacted written policies pursuant to the consent decree that prevent officers from responding to requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding criminal aliens in custody, except in very limited circumstances. The Justice Department reviewed and approved those policies prior to their enactment by NOPD.
In their letter to Attorney General Lynch, Goodlatte and Gowdy write:
“It is outrageous that DOJ would seek a consent decree to actually inhibit the ability of the federal government to enforce federal law. By hindering the ability of ICE to apprehend criminal aliens, DOJ consciously disregards the safety and security of the American public by enabling the release of these criminals back into our communities to commit more crimes. It also places ICE agents and officers at greater risk when they are forced to arrest these criminal aliens who are no longer in a secure jail facility, but in public places where they can more readily escape or access a weapon. In addition, the consent decree may be interpreted to require NOPD to adopt policies that require its officers to violate federal law.”
Below is the text of the letter to Attorney General Lynch. The signed copy can be found here.
May 18, 2016
The Honorable Loretta Lynch
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Lynch:
We are concerned by reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought and obtained a consent decree in federal court requiring the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) to adopt policies that prohibit police officers from considering an individual’s immigration status when performing their law enforcement duties. Also troubling are reports that DOJ reviewed and approved written policies promulgated by NOPD in implementing the consent decree, which appear to restrict the ability of NOPD officers to respond to requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. This written policy, “Immigration Status,” became effective on February 28, 2016, and it now appears in Chapter 41.6.1 of the NOPD Operations Manual. The relevant policy statements provide:
3. NOPD members shall not make inquiries into an individual’s immigration status, except as authorized by this Chapter.
4. The enforcement of civil federal immigration laws falls exclusively within the authority of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
5. The NOPD shall not engage in, assist, or support immigration enforcement except as follows: (a) In response to an articulated, direct threat to life or public safety; or (b) When such services are required to safely execute a criminal warrant or court order issued by a federal or state judge.
6. Unless authorized by Paragraph 5, members are not permitted to accept requests by ICE or other agencies to support or assist in immigration enforcement operations . . . . In the event a member receives a request to support or assist in a civil immigration enforcement action[,] he or she shall report the request to his or her supervisor, who shall decline the request and document the declination in an interoffice memorandum to the Superintendent through the chain of command.
The NOPD “Immigration Status” policy statements purportedly derive from a consent decree entered into by the City of New Orleans and DOJ on or about July 24, 2012, and approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on January 11, 2013. The consent decree itself was the result of a request by the mayor of the City of New Orleans to DOJ in May 2010, to review NOPD practices and procedures. In 2011, DOJ’s Civil Division determined that NOPD engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations and, as a result, DOJ initiated litigation against the City of New Orleans to remedy those violations. The consent decree was intended to resolve that litigation.
However, it is outrageous that DOJ would seek a consent decree to actually inhibit the ability of the federal government to enforce federal law. By hindering the ability of ICE to apprehend criminal aliens, DOJ consciously disregards the safety and security of the American public by enabling the release of these criminals back into our communities to commit more crimes. It also places ICE agents and officers at greater risk when they are forced to arrest these criminal aliens who are no longer in a secure jail facility, but in public places where they can more readily escape or access a weapon. In addition, the consent decree may be interpreted to require NOPD to adopt policies that require its officers to violate federal law. The policy statements referenced above could be read to require the violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which provides that no person or agency may prohibit or restrict a federal, state, or local agency from sending, requesting, receiving, or exchanging information about an individual’s immigration status with ICE.
The Louisiana Legislature is currently considering Louisiana House Bill 151, the “Illegal Alien Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act.” A legislative hearing on H.B. 151 was held on April 21, 2016, before the Louisiana House Judiciary Committee. At that hearing, representatives from the New Orleans Mayor’s Office and NOPD testified that the “Immigration Status” policy statements were vetted and “enthusiastically” approved by DOJ’s Civil Division.
On April 27, 2016, the Louisiana Attorney General sent you a letter regarding the NOPD policy statements. In the letter, Louisiana Attorney General Landry requested that you confirm whether DOJ (1) reviewed and approved the NOPD policy statements, and (2) required the City of New Orleans to adopt the NOPD policy statements as part of the consent decree. The answers to those questions are critical to determine whether DOJ may have impermissibly approved the violation of federal law or required NOPD to violate federal law as a condition of compliance with the consent decree. Therefore, please provide us with a copy of your response to Louisiana Attorney General Landry’s letter when it is issued.
To more fully understand the issues described above, on or before May 30, 2016, please also provide copies of all written, printed, recorded, graphic, electronic, audio, or visual material of any kind, whether prepared by you or by any other person, that is in the possession, custody, or control of DOJ, which refers to, or relates to:
Any and all communications made by or on behalf of the City of New Orleans, NOPD, DOJ, or any other person, regarding or in response to the review or investigation of the practices or procedures of NOPD on or after January 2009.
Any and all communications concerning the consent decree in U.S. v. City of New Orleans, 2:12-CV-01924-SM-JCW (E.D. La. Jan. 11, 2013), including all antecedent communications regarding the decision to initiate that litigation, and all antecedent communications regarding the prosecution and settlement of that litigation.
Any and all communications regarding the development, drafting, review, approval, or promulgation of any NOPD policy regarding the immigration status of any person, including the policy statements found in Chapter 41.6.1 of the NOPD Operations Manual.
For purposes of this request, “communications” means any disclosure, transfer, or exchange of information or opinion, however made, including but not limited to, emails, voice mails, fax, memoranda, inquiries, or reports. If you cannot fully respond to this request, please identify the specific item within this request to which you cannot fully respond and explain the constitutional rationale for not fully responding.
Additionally, please provide a briefing to Committee staff regarding the foregoing matters on or before June 1, 2016.
If you have any questions about this request, please contact Tracy Short, Counsel, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, at (202) 225-3926. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Bob Goodlatte Trey Gowdy
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
1404 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representing South Carolina’s 4th District, Trey Gowdy entered Congress with a resolute commitment to the conservative principles that have guided him throughout his years in public service. At the core of those principles lies a firm belief in a limited government that inspires trust and demands accountability.
Representative Gowdy serves on the House Committees on Education and the Workforce, Ethics, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform. He also serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for the Judiciary Committee. In these capacities, Representative Gowdy has fought to highlight facts, uphold the Constitution, rein in the ever-expanding scope of the federal government, and restore America’s trust with a renewed spirit of honesty, fairness and reason.
Trey graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1982, Baylor University in 1986 with a degree in history, and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989 where he was a member of the scholastic honor society “Order of the Wig and Robe.”
For 6 years as a federal prosecutor, Trey prosecuted the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness. He was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for the successful prosecution of J. Mark Allen, one of “America’s Most Wanted” suspects. He also received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive – two years in a row.
As 7th Circuit Solicitor, Trey led an office of 25 attorneys and 65 total employees. During his tenure, he started a Violence Against Women Task Force and a Worthless Check Program, enhanced and expanded Drug Court, and implemented a Drug Mother Protocol designed to assist expectant mothers break the cycle of addiction.
He has been recognized statewide for his commitment to victim’s rights and drunken driving enforcement and nationally for excellence in death penalty prosecutions.
Trey is married to Terri Dillard Gowdy, and they have two children: Watson and Abigail. Terri works for the Spartanburg School District as a teacher’s aide. Watson is a sophomore at Clemson University and Abigail is a rising 10th grader at Spartanburg High School. The Gowdy family also includes three dogs: “Judge”, “Jury”and “Bailiff.”
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Dept of State just admitted $400 million to Iran was used to get prisoners back. Or phrased differently…ransom. https://t.co/wkbaoySom1
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Yet another example of the Obama administration lying to the American people. Unbelievable. https://t.co/AX42o0PWp9
My prayers are with the people of France following the news of this horrific attack #PrayForNice
The character to ask the right questions, the experience to understand different perspectives, the gratitude for those who serve... this is what
It frankly should not matter whether you are running for president or running late to a kid's ball game. The same rules should to apply to everyone.
A voice for equality, justice, reconciliation and peace even during a dark week: Tim Scott.
You are talking about men and women who are risking their lives to gain intelligence for us and you put it on something with less security than