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Rosenstein Addresses Police-Community Relations At NAACP Convention

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in Baltimore on Tuesday. The former Baltimore US Attorney addressed the NAACP National Convention.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on his message.

He moved from Baltimore to the Department of Justice and has gained a national spotlight since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in the Russia investigation, but his message on Tuesday was public safety.

“I am honored to stand with you today in the cause of justice,” says Rosenstein.

Rosenstein said prosecuting corrupt police is critical, but emphasized that most police are public servants who want to help.

“Cases like that are extremely important, but those corrupt officers do not represent all of police,” Rosenstein said. “Most officers are honorable people who try every day to do the right thing, but we need them to be role models. They have a special responsibility to follow the rules.”

“At the same time, citizens have an obligation to show respect for the police,” he said. “Building a good relationship is a two-way street. We all need to help build relationships based on mutual respect.”

Rosenstein also told the audience that a Justice Department task force on crime reduction and public safety will deliver preliminary recommendations this week, with a final report released to President Donald Trump next year. He said the department is developing new programs and strategies to work better with communities and state and local agencies to reduce crime.

To bring that point home, the former Baltimore U.S. Attorney looked to his cases in Baltimore. The death of McKenzie Elliott, the three-year-old shot and killed on her porch.

“And three years after her murder we caught the alleged killer and six other gang members. We put McKenzie’s photograph on a poster and I took it with me to Washington, D.C. as a reminder that we need to have the courage to get serious about crime,” says Rosenstein.

Rosenstein also pointed to his last case here, the misconduct in office indictment of the city police gun squad officers as an example of the need for better police-community relations.

“Building a good relationship is a two-way street,” he says.

Rosenstein’s new job as deputy to Attorney General Jeff Sessions has put him on the president’s radar.

Rosenstein was mentioned by President Trump in critical comments by the president recalling a conversation with Jeff Sessions about Russia.

Rosenstein’s mention of the president was nonpartisan.

In President Trump’s inaugural address, he said Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands,” says Rosenstein.

President Trump declined an invitation to speak at the convention.

Democrat Bernie Sanders, who is not ruling out a 2020 run for president, spoke at the convention yesterday.

This is the first NAACP convention in Baltimore since 2000 and runs through Wednesday.

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(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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