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Top DOJ Official Wants To Prevent The Violence He Grew Up With

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, head of the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division, sees himself as a problem-solver for communities, he tells NPR. Polite described his childhood growing up in New Orleans public housing, where he witnessed street violence. He said his half brother's death from gun violence in an apparent case of retaliation in 2004 influenced him to pursue a career in criminal justice. Polite said he didn't start out wanting to put people in prison. Rather, he wanted to save lives and prevent people from having the same experiences he did.

Polite rose to prominence as U. S. Attorney in New Orleans during the Mayor Ray Nagin corruption scandal and the rape trials of NFL player Darren Sharper. Polite's priorities are reducing gun violence as well as cracking down on white-collar crimes and cyber-attacks. Polite says he will support more investments in social services and violence prevention programs in communities.

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