Justice Department Honors Florida Mother For Challenging "No Snitching" Culture

Apr 23, 2013, 20:29 ET from Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice will honor Lisa Wheeler-Brown for special courage in challenging the "no snitching" code of silence in her community following the murder of her 21-year-old son, Cabretti.  Attorney General Eric Holder will present her with an award during the National Crime Victims' Rights Week ceremony on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

"These committed individuals are being honored for their dedication to assisting and supporting victims of crime all across the country," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "Their actions inspire all Americans, to do what we can, each in our own way, to help lessen the physical, emotional and financial impacts of crime on people in our communities."

Wheeler-Brown will receive the Special Courage Award after her exceptional perseverance and determination in uniting her St. Petersburg, Fla., community following the 2008 murder of her son.  When detectives reached a standstill in her son's murder investigation, Wheeler-Brown launched a spirited campaign against the community's unwritten code of not reporting crime to law enforcement also known as "no snitching." She developed a YouTube video encouraging community residents to cooperate with police.

Wheeler-Brown created the Cabretti Wheeler-Fortner Foundation, where she spent countless hours educating youth and the community about the lasting effects of violence, campaigning and promoting nonviolence, engaging neighborhoods to improve police and community relations and coordinating vigils to pray for the healing of victims' survivors and their families.

In addition to Wheeler-Brown, Attorney General Holder will recognize 12 other individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims.  Descriptions and videos of the honorees are available at the Office for Victims of Crime's Gallery: https://ovcncvrw.ncjrs.gov/Awards/AwardGallery/gallerysearch.html.

President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims' Rights Week in 1981, calling for renewed emphasis on, and sensitivity to, the rights of victims.  National Crime Victims' Rights Week will be observed this year from April 21-27.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. For more information about OJP, please visit: www.ojp.gov.

SOURCE Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs