Is Eric Holder Trying to Railroad Ferguson Cop?
If anyone thought the Obama administration planned to sit on the sidelines during the riots in Ferguson, Mo., those thoughts ought to be dispelled by now. Last Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder visited the suburban St. Louis community. Evidence suggests his ulterior motive was to conduct the groundwork for a criminal indictment against a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who on August 9 shot to death a local black youth, Michael Brown. All credible evidence reveals that Wilson, far from being a trigger-happy “racist” cop, had acted in self-defense. Brown sucker-punched Wilson, tried to take his gun, and then, after walking away, violently charged at Wilson, prompting the latter to use his gun. Holder is no model of impartiality. Upon arrival, he stated at Florissant Valley Community College: “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”
When it comes to judicious and objective law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama years is about the last place one would want to look. This July, I reviewed a new book, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department (Broadside), for National Legal and Policy Center. Co-authored by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, respectively, a syndicated columnist and a Bush-era counsel to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the book is a meticulous polemic against the abuses of power during the Obama/Holder years. Holder, who had been deputy attorney general during the second Clinton administration, has made it his mission to bend or break the law in order to achieve his radical egalitarian ideal of justice. It is a radicalism laden with a sense of racial payback. It is no coincidence that President Obama and Attorney General Holder are allies of Al Sharpton, who himself arrived in St. Louis about two weeks ago for an extended stay. They, like Sharpton, are possessed of a belief that whites bear a special burden of atonement and sacrifice. Part of this mentality carries an assumption that when accused of a crime against a black, a white should be accorded an implied presumption of guilt. It is safe to say that Holder wants a conviction. The only issue is how to get it.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which is poring over potentially incriminating evidence, long has been a career booster rocket for young lawyers supportive of affirmative action, selective prosecution of hate crimes, and other approaches to law that favor nonwhites over whites. The division often hires its staff attorneys directly from radical nonprofit legal groups. Achievement of social equality, even at the expense of liberty and rule of law, is the goal. Under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, the DOJ has ramped up its egalitarian mission to unprecedented heights. This was to be expected. As the Fund-Spakovsky book details, and as I argued back in November 2012, Holder has never been objective. For him, partisan politics takes precedence over fealty to the Constitution and common sense, especially when race enters the picture. He operates from an assumption in which white-run America is still “racist” and in need of redemption. Thus, the Department of Justice routinely bends, exaggerates or ignores facts in deciding if and how to prosecute a case. An outcome unfavorable to a particular black, or blacks generally, is to be avoided even if evidence warrants such an outcome.
Holder’s handling of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, a community of roughly 20,000 persons in the northern suburbs of St. Louis, is fully in line with this pattern. Still smarting over his inability (so far) to find a way to file federal hate crime charges against George Zimmerman, a neighborhood patrol volunteer rightly exonerated by a Florida state jury for defending himself with lethal force against an unprovoked attack by large, violent black teenager, Trayvon Martin, Holder badly wants a white trophy defendant. In this way, he symbolically can try all of white America. He believes he has such a person in Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year Ferguson cop. Originally, the local police department was reluctant to release his name, but pressure from black rioters and their enablers, like Al Sharpton, broke that resolve. As a result, his life may be in danger. It is almost unthinkable that an attorney general, regardless of political views, could express no support for Wilson, not to mention the rest of the Ferguson police force. Those wishing to provide moral and financial support might check out a web page set up in his name at www.gofundme.com.
In a recent interview, Obama’s Enforcer co-author Spakovsky expressed the view that Wilson’s rights are expendable in the eyes of Holder and other top DOJ officials. “Eric Holder has completely politicized the Justice Department,” Spakovsky noted. He explained what is at stake:
That should concern every American. I don’t care what their political background is because that is a threat to everyone’s liberty and everyone’s freedom when that kind of power is used for political purposes. I am fearful that they [Holder and his people] will try to pursue a federal case even if there’s evidence to justify it, because of the fact that they really see everything, including Eric Holder, through the prism of race even when race is not a factor in a case or an incident.
In the Holder construction of reality, Michael Brown, a harmless 18-year-old, college-bound lad was murdered by Officer Darren Wilson because of his race. At his funeral service yesterday, thousands of mourners, including the parents of Trayvon Martin, poured into the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. A parade of speakers remembered Brown fondly; one called him a “gentle soul” possessed of a deep and growing faith in Christianity. Mindful of the emotionally-charged atmosphere, such language flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that Brown was anything but gentle. Indeed, it would have been Wilson’s funeral had he not fired off several rounds at Brown.
Let’s take a closer look at the key material details of this incident, which triggered nearly two weeks of rioting by local and outside blacks, resulting in more than 150 arrests. While this covers some of the same ground as my Ferguson article of last week, additional details have emerged since then. All serve to exonerate Officer Wilson.
Brown had established himself as a criminal even before his encounter with Wilson. Brown’s defenders are peddling the line that he had “no prior criminal record.” This claim, even if true, is highly disingenuous. Its sole purpose is to establish Brown’s innocence, and hence, Wilson’s guilt. Immediately prior to the police encounter, hidden video footage showed that a black male identical in appearance to Brown stole roughly $50 worth of cigars from a nearby convenience store, an act which at the very least qualifies as petty larceny. On his way out of the store, Brown then shoved and terrorized a diminutive store clerk attempting to prevent his shoplifting. These are crimes. As for his apparent lack of a criminal record, he likely did have one – as a juvenile. While juvenile criminal justice policies vary by state, most crimes committed by minors, save for the truly heinous ones, typically are shielded from public view and/or expunged from the record once the minor becomes a legal adult. Given that Brown was only 18 at the time of his death, he had virtually no time to amass any adult convictions.
Officer Wilson did not behave in any way that justified a violent response. Wilson was driving his patrol car slowly through a Ferguson neighborhood when he encountered Brown and a companion walking in the middle of a street. Without being bellicose, Wilson asked the pair to move to the sidewalk. This was a reasonable request. Police across the country behave similarly in such a situation. It’s a matter of public safety. There is no reason to believe Officer Wilson’s request had anything to do with the race of the pedestrians. Even if it was, there is something more basic here. When a police officer issues a directive of any sort, it is the responsibility of the civilian to comply unless he can explain why he can’t. Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, didn’t move to the sidewalk because they couldn’t. They didn’t move because they wouldn’t. Brown in particular took offense. For him, obeying a request by a white cop somehow constituted a symbolic surrender to the enemy. Brown perceived the request as something “done” to him. Thus, he had to exact immediate revenge.
Michael Brown assaulted Wilson, not the other way around. Newspaper and web articles sympathetic to Brown routinely refer to him as “unarmed.” The use of that word is thoroughly misleading. Thousands of crimes are committed in the U.S. each month without the benefit of a gun, knife, blunt object or other weapon. Hands and feet can be lethal to an intended victim, especially when the assailant is large. And at 6’4,” 292 lbs., Brown resembled an NFL linemen.
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