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Ex-Justice Department official: Agency tainted by ‘racial favoritism’

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A former director of a unit within the U.S. Department of Justice — the Community Relations Service — said he regularly issued warnings to employees who favored advocacy over law or used their positions to push personal agendas based on perceived biases.

The CRS is supposed to provide conflict resolution and mediation services.

"I found that some employees of CRS talked neutrally in public and spoke in the tenor of mediators in public, but behind the scenes, when they talked to the civil rights groups or the perceived aggrieved parties, they'll say, essentially, 'Don't worry. The Department of Justice is here and we're going to get to the bottom of it," said Ondray T. Harris, former CRS director, The Blaze reported.

Mr. Harris first made the statements to The Daily Caller — that he "regularly had to warn or take corrective action against career employees for acting as advocates instead of mediators."

His claim comes on the heels of recent reports that members of the CRS headed to Florida to help organize protests against George Zimmerman in 2012. And Mr. Harris said of the CRS regional director who went to Sanford, Fla., for that mission — Thomas Battles — that he was "black, and very pro-black," The Blaze reported.

"I thought to myself [at one point], 'are you kidding me? There's no room for racial favoritism here,'" he said of his office experiences with Mr. Battles, The Blaze reported.

Mr. Battles frequently shared "extremely pro-minority [views] at the expense of the majority views" with other CRS employees, Mr. Harris reportedly said. Moreover, many CRS workers actually agreed with those views, Mr. Harris said, as The Blaze reported, and felt "more of an allegiance to the people they perceive[d] to be discriminated against than to the law, the government or even the CRS mandate."

Mr. Harris said it's crucial that government leaders "rein in the career employees out in the field," The Blaze reported.

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