Constance Rice, a civil rights attorney who served on the review panel that investigated the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division corruption scandal, was among 11 people chosen Thursday by President Barack Obama to serve on a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
The task force was billed by the White House as an effort to strengthen community policing and bolster trust between communities and law enforcement. The group was asked by Obama to prepare an initial report by March.
Rice began working with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1991, and became co-director of its Los Angeles office in 1996. Three years later, she co- founded the Advancement Project civil rights organization. As an attorney, she filed cases that resulted in mandates for improved bus service and increased school-construction spending in low-income communities.
She was chosen by then-LAPD Chief Bill Bratton to sit on the Blue Ribbon Rampart Review panel. She also conducted a review of the city’s anti-gang programs, and more recently took part in the LAPD’s review of the firing of Officer Christopher Dorner, who claimed he was wrongly terminated and went on a killing spree that ended with his death in a San Bernardino County cabin.
The president’s task force, which Obama created today with an executive order and will be chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, also includes community and youth leaders and academics.
“These fine public servants bring both a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles,” Obama said. “Our nation will be well-served by these men and women, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
— City News Service