KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree resigned from the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice this week.
In his resignation letter, submitted to United States Attorney General William Barr, Dupree said he was initialy excited in 2019 to join the commission and hoped it would develop a set of recommendations that would improve the relationship between citizens and law enforcement.
"Unfortunately, that excitement and joy was replaced with disappointment and concern with a process that left too many important voices out and one that completely lacked transparency," Dupree said in the letter to Barr.
Dupree said that on May 29, 2020, he wrote the commission expressing his concerns but received no response to them.
These concerns included:
- The commission's process and lack of inclusivity and transparency
- Whether the commission was complying with federal law in its meetings and composition
- Whether the final report would adequately recognize and bring forth recommendations that address the deeply-rooted issues of racial disparities in policing and the growing distrust of the justice system
- And a perceived desire by the commission to attack and erode the discretion of local prosecutors, many of whom have implemented evidence-based reforms that have greatly benefited numerous counties across the country and the citizenry at large by improving public safety while reducing incarceration
In early November, a D.C. District Court ruled that the commission's composition and process violated federal law.
The judge ruled that the recommendations could be released but only with a disclaimer from the Judge John Bates stating it violated the law.
President Donald Trump started the commission through an Executive Order last November.
Dupree was a member of the re-entry programs and initiatives, which "focused on how prisoner programming and post-custodial rehabilitation initiatives can reduce recidivism and improve the quality of life for criminal offenders and their communities."
Dupree says he and other commission members were not given access to read the full report and final recommendations.
"I am deeply offended by a political agenda to divide rather than build," Dupree said. "This report will perpetuate the harms of the war on drugs, which was a war on people of color rather than move our country toward equity."
Dupree joined the commission in Oct. 2019.