September 28, 2022

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Former North Carolina Police Sergeant Resentenced for Using Excessive Force Against an Arrestee

11 min read
The Justice Department announced today that Robert George, 49, was resentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell to three years in prison and one year of supervised release in connection with a 2013 incident that occurred while he was a Sergeant with the Hickory Police Department in North Carolina.

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    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (2017 NDAA) required the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a policy for preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment of NOAA’s workforce. In response to the 2017 NDAA, NOAA issued its Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Policy in February 2018. GAO found that this 2018 policy is consistent with most of the relevant legal requirements from the 2017 NDAA and is partially or not consistent with some. For example, although NOAA has protocols for investigating allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, NOAA’s policy does not specifically describe these protocols, as required by the 2017 NDAA. In addition, the policy follows most selected practices recommended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in its 2017 Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment document. While NOAA’s actions followed many selected EEOC promising practices, GAO found some shortcomings in the agency’s prevention and response processes. For example, NOAA’s 2020 mandatory training for supervisors and managers did not explain the consequences for failing to fulfill the reporting responsibilities related to allegations of harassment—in contrast to EEOC’s promising practices. Specifically, the training did not describe the consequences managers could face if, for example, they failed to report incidents that they witnessed or that were reported to them. In the absence of training or other mechanisms to clearly outline consequences for failing to fulfill managers’ responsibilities, agency managers may allow harassing behavior to continue, thereby raising liability concerns and undermining the message that sexual harassment is not tolerated. In addition, EEOC’s promising practices state that those implementing an agency’s complaint system should appropriately document every complaint. The offices responsible for implementing each of NOAA’s complaint systems do not maintain or collect data in a consistent manner and have not always provided data to management in a consistent format. Consequently, the agency has experienced difficulty reconciling data from its multiple complaint systems for annual reports to Congress and is hindered in its ability to target prevention and response efforts, according to agency officials. Extent to which NOAA’s 2018 Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy and the Agency’s Related Actions Follow Selected Promising Practices Summary Results of GAO analysis NOAA’s 2018 policy follows most selected Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment. ● NOAA’s leadership and accountability actions to prevent and respond to sexual harassment follow selected EEOC promising practices. ◐ NOAA’s anti-harassment training follows selected EEOC promising practices. ◐ NOAA’s harassment complaint systems follow selected EEOC promising practices. ◐ Source: GAO. I GAO-21-560 ● Follows ◐ Partially Follows Why GAO Did This Study Sexual assault and sexual harassment can have harmful effects on the individual employees as well as the workplace by undermining employee morale and decreasing productivity. In 2018, NOAA identified several factors indicating that the agency may be at risk for harassment or assault, or both. GAO was asked to review NOAA’s policies and actions for preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment. This report examines: (1) the extent to which NOAA’s policy is consistent with relevant legal requirements in the 2017 NDAA and follows EEOC’s promising practices and (2) the extent to which NOAA’s actions follow EEOC’s promising practices. GAO reviewed NOAA’s prevention and response policy and actions from 2016 through August 2021. GAO analyzed data, interviewed officials, and compared NOAA’s policy and actions to relevant sections of the 2017 NDAA and EEOC’s promising practices.

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    What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) has some policies and processes in place to prevent the resale of goods produced through forced labor in its commissaries and exchanges. However, despite their generally common business of providing reduced-priced groceries and retail goods to their patrons, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) and the military service exchanges have varying policies and inconsistent processes. These inconsistencies result in a fragmented approach to forced labor at DOD’s resale organizations. For example, while DeCA is subject to procurement regulations that cover all categories of goods, guidance governing the exchanges focuses only on certain resale goods such as those directly imported from overseas. Establishing an overarching policy and consistent processes would help DOD have reasonable assurance that goods produced by forced labor are not available for purchase within the commissaries and exchanges. DOD Commissary GAO found that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has not monitored DeCA’s and the exchanges’ compliance with policies for preventing the resale of goods produced with forced labor. In addition, the military exchanges have not consistently implemented all requirements related to resale goods that may have been produced by forced labor. For example, GAO found that the exchanges have not consistently followed the requirement to have periodic assessments of their programs related to forced labor prevention. Without a mechanism to monitor efforts by DeCA and the exchanges to prevent the resale of goods produced by forced labor, OSD lacks reasonable assurance that the resale organizations are not purchasing and reselling these goods. Despite having access to other federal agencies’ information on the risks of forced labor in the production of resale goods, officials from DeCA and the exchanges have not used such information. Federal agencies, to include the Department of Labor, publish information about the potential use of forced labor in the production of goods. This information includes lists of goods and countries with increased risks of forced labor. By drawing upon available information from other federal agencies, DeCA and the exchanges would be better positioned to identify, assess, and respond to risks of forced labor. Why GAO Did This Study The U.S. government and others have raised concerns about the use of forced labor in the production of goods. DOD operates almost 3,000 commissaries and exchanges worldwide to enhance the quality of life of service members, their families, and retirees by providing reduced-priced groceries and retail goods. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 included a provision for GAO to review DOD’s efforts to prevent the resale of goods produced by forced labor in commissaries and exchanges. This report evaluates the extent to which (1) DeCA and the military service exchanges have established policies and processes for preventing the resale of goods produced by forced labor, (2) OSD monitors DeCA’s and the exchanges’ compliance with their policies and processes, and (3) opportunities exist for DeCA and the exchanges to use information from other federal agencies to inform their efforts. GAO analyzed DOD policies and processes related to the resale of goods that may be produced by forced labor and interviewed DOD and other federal agency officials.

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