In Update 12 of the Michael Brown series–Disparate Impact vs. The Rule of Law—I spoke to the enormous disconnect between the Federal Department of Justice’s report that actually exonerated former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, and its report, issued at the same time, that claims the Ferguson Police Department is a venomous throwback to the days of Democrat-sponsored and defended segregation. What Holder giveth, he also taketh away.
There is a likely explanation for the very different style and tone of the reports. The DOJ has been, in large part, coopted by radical Leftists intent on imposing “social justice” on America. Such people actually believe that it is impossible for white people to be discriminated against, and have consistently refused to uphold and defend the rights of any but blacks. These people are so shameless, so amoral, that J. Christian Adams at PJ Media, where I also contribute, wrote a series of articles demonstrating that every one of Holder’s hires at the DOJ have been unabashed radical Leftists whose revolutionary pedigrees are not, by any means, concealed.
The report (available here) is a virtual recitation of every leftist cliché and social justice narrative talking point. As such, it relies not on fact, logic and law, but on progressive wishes, on what the most extreme Marxist/statists wish to be true, not what is true.
However, the DOJ report on Wilson (available here) is virtually the opposite. It is logical, rational and written with due regard to law and fact. In tone, at least, it does tend to damn Wilson by faint praise, but this is the federal government. That’s to be expected. Rather, for example, than saying that there was no evidence that Wilson violated any law, it relies on suggesting that there was insufficient credible evidence to contradict his version of events. In other words, “we just couldn’t find the goods to indict the bastard, even though we know he’s guilty as sin.” Even so, the DOJ is not entirely filled with radicals. There remain at least some professionals dedicated to the Constitution and the rule of law. Such people could have, considering the clear and indisputable evidence in the case, only come to the same conclusion that the Missouri grand jury reached: Wilson was entirely justified under Missouri law, and there was no evidence–none–to justify a prosecution for a federal civil rights violation. Had the report been written by DOJ radicals, that would not, for a moment, have stopped them, at least not rhetorically, though it may have prevented them from filing charges. America is not quite yet so far gone that they could get away with a railroading of those proportions. Not quite yet.
I’ll address the Ferguson PD report in the near future. The focus of this article is a more immediate, and continuing problem: the deterioration of race relations and the encouragement of the worst elements of our society toward murderous violence. The most recent example of this is the attempted murder of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri.
Obviously the accused criminal, one Jeffrey Williams, is ultimately responsible. Williams, arrested on 03-15-15, is a 20 year-old local resident, who according to the local prosecutor—Robert McCullouch–participated in previous Ferguson protests. At the time he shot the officers—which according to the prosecutor he “acknowledged” doing—there was a warrant out for his arrest. It seems Mr. Williams was on probation for receiving stolen property and hadn’t bothered to check in with his probation officer for some seven months. It also seem that Williams is claiming he wasn’t really intending to shoot the officers, no, he was actually intending to shoot some other, unnamed, people with whom he was having a ‘dispute” and just happened to miss them and shoot two police officers with his .40 caliber pistol. That pistol was found in Williams’ home–by means of a search warrant; apparently the MO police continue to do things properly–and apparently has been matched to expended cases found at the scene of the shooting. In his statement to the press, McCulloch made clear he was not prone to believe William’s claim, which even if true, would make no difference in the charges currently filed, which could result in a life sentence for Williams. Oh yes: I’m sure it will surprise no one to learn that Williams is black.
There is no question Williams is legally responsible, but moral responsibility is another, related, matter. Are there those—individuals and organizations—that have had an active role in encouraging the recent violence against police officers, to say nothing of the violence against communities like Ferguson, which is still reeling from the economic destruction wrought by so-called protestors demanding, among other things, jobs their criminal actions have made impossible? Ferguson property values have dropped, since Brown was killed, by nearly 50%. Consider these views on moral responsibility from a variety of pundits, all made before the arrest and identification of Williams.
Charles Cooke urges us not to blame the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri on anyone other than the assassin himself:
‘[The two police officers] were not shot by Barack Obama. They were not shot by Eric Holder. And they were not shot by ‘the media’ or by the Democratic party. The shooter wasn’t forced to pull the trigger by ‘the protests,’ and nor was his crime commissioned by our latent ‘political culture.’ Al Sharpton was nowhere to be seen. Rather, a man who was in possession of his own agency made a terrible, disastrous decision. Observers who have today attempted to indict the entire post-Ferguson activist movement for his crime should know better than to imply otherwise.’
Cooke is right. It’s quite possible that some members of the post-Ferguson activist movement made statements that could constitute incitement, but the movement as a whole is not to blame. Nor, by any stretch, is the Obama administration.
I was highly critical of the Justice Department’s report accusing the Ferguson police department of racism. In my view, the evidence cited didn’t support the allegation (on the other hand, the DOJ report on the shooting of Michael Brown was an exemplary document).
But Eric Holder thought otherwise. And having concluded that racism is a major problem in the Ferguson police department, he had the right to say so and to be angry about it.
Moreover, Holder didn’t just level an accusation. The DOJ report presents lots of evidence in support of this claim. Most of the evidence is statistical, and I believe the statistics cited fail to prove what DOJ infers from them. But poor statistical analysis doesn’t make the government morally guilty of inciting anti-police violence. [skip]
Holder did go too far, in my opinion, when he said that the violent and lawless response of Ferguson residents to the justified shooting of Michael Brown was an understandable reaction to the “highly toxic environment” created by the Ferguson police over the years. This statement was irresponsible.
But it was not an invitation or incitement to shoot Ferguson police officers.
Let’s keep the blame for the Ferguson shooting on the perpetrator. Let’s not use the tragedy to disparage our political adversaries.
And if those “political adversaries” are constantly violating the Constitution and the law, substituting social justice for the rule of law, and actively encouraging riot for political gain?
Such violence is the sadly predictable outcome of the lies about the police that government officials and the media have stoked for the last year.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has done all he can to keep tensions at a boiling point in Ferguson.
This, though his own Justice Department demolished the hoax that a pacific Michael Brown was killed in cold blood by Police Officer Darren Wilson in August.
The Justice report on the Brown shooting, released last week, demolished every myth around the shooting. [skip]
The Brown report should have forced a massive reconsideration of the virulent anti-law-enforcement campaign that sprang up in the wake of the shooting.
Instead, Holder paved the way for the report’s marginalization by calling, a few days before its release, for a lower standard of proof for civil-rights cases.
Implication: Only an artificially high standard of proof prevented Justice from prosecuting Wilson.
This implication was utterly false. Wilson couldn’t be convicted under any standard of proof, since there is no credible evidence against him.
Yet the media ran with this ‘burden of proof’ angle and buried the report almost as soon as it was released.
Meanwhile, in a stunning bait-and-switch, Holder presented a new report to justify last year’s riots and the ongoing anti-police campaign.
That report claimed that the Ferguson Police Department engages in a ‘pattern or practice’ of violating blacks’ civil rights.
Where the Brown report was measured and thorough, this second report was disingenuous and agenda-driven. [skip]
But after the evisceration of the Brown hoax, it‘s folly to take stories against the police at face value. Yet there’s no indication that the Justice lawyers double-checked any victim accounts.
Regular readers know that when the police deserve it, I make the case against them, but I do it not with innuendo, misleading statistics and slander, but with fact, experience and replicable analysis.
Moreover, though the report calls such apparently bad stops ‘frequent,’ it makes no attempt to quantify them in relation to the overall number of stops and arrests, and so establish a ‘pattern or practice’ of civil-rights violations.
The rest of the report goes downhill from there. Its alleged statistical proof of race-based stops and arrests wouldn’t earn its authors a D in Statistics 101, since it lacks a valid benchmark for its stop and arrest data. [skip]
President Obama echoed the Holder spin two days after the reports’ release. ‘We may never know exactly what happened’ to Michael Brown, he told students at South Carolina’s Benedict College.
Actually, we do know what happened. Numerous credible witnesses and the forensic evidence confirmed Wilson’s account.
But Obama presented the case as a subtle standard-of-proof problem: ‘The finding that was made was that it was not unreasonable to determine that there was not sufficient evidence to charge Officer Wilson.’
He then blasted the Ferguson PD: The overwhelmingly white force was ‘systematically’ biased, he said, placing minorities under its care into an ‘oppressive and abusive situation.’
Such rhetoric guaranteed that the purges of Ferguson officials in the wake of the second Justice report would fail to satisfy the protesters.
Wednesday, before the shootings, Ferguson’s police chief announced his resignation, following in the steps of the city manager and municipal judge. The protesters wanted more, though what exactly is uncertain.
At least one in their midst, however, wanted what protesters in New York had chanted before the assassination of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu: ‘What do we want? Dead cops.’
By now, the media and politicians are on ample notice that their crusade against law enforcement carries deadly risks. There’s no more excuse for inflaming hatred against the police, especially when the allegations used to inflame that hatred are proven untruths.
Officers put their lives on the line every day to protect law-abiding members of poor communities. Increasingly, those officers are at risk not just from thugs but from the rhetoric emanating from the highest reaches of government.
I couldn’t agree more.
Racial Politics: Unable to pin racism charges on Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder is using half-baked data to manufacture a case of racism against his entire police force.
Holder’s race-baiting civil rights crew combed through several years of Ferguson Police Department data on traffic stops, searches and arrests and ‘found a pattern of racial disparities in Ferguson’s police activities.’
‘African Americans are overrepresented in FPD’s vehicular stops’ and victims of ‘racial bias,’ Holder concludes in his report.
He notes that blacks accounted for 85% of vehicle stops, ‘despite comprising only 67% of Ferguson’s population,’ while whites made up 15% of stops, despite representing 29% of the population.
So there you have it, a slam-dunk case of racism, right? Hardly.
Outrageously, the nation’s top prosecutor failed to control for factors that explain the racial ‘disparity’ in traffic stops, such as speeding, DUI, expired license plates, headlight, seat-belt and child-restraint violations and other reasons for being pulled over.
Holder’s own department statistics show that African Americans, on average, violate speeding and other traffic laws at much greater rates than whites. [skip]
And a footnote on page 77 kills Holder’s whole case of ‘disparate impact’ racism against the Ferguson PD. It remarks that disparities are worse throughout the state of Missouri, raising ‘considerable concerns about policing outside of Ferguson as well.’
As former federal civil-rights lawyer Hans Bader told us: ‘Disparate impact is ubiquitous. Virtually everything in the larger society has a disparate impact in the prima facie sense. What police department wouldn’t be in violation of it?’
There are lies, damned lies, and then there are Eric Holder’s statistics.
But Holder will use his bogus stats to bully Ferguson into civil-rights ‘remedies,’ such as ‘prohibiting (vehicle) searches based on consent for the foreseeable future’ and banning ‘officers from conducting stops, searches, or arrests on the basis of ‘wanteds’ or ‘stop orders’ issued by other agencies.’
Yes, let’s prevent police from controlling crime and protecting law-abiding citizens so Don Quixolder can continue to tilt at his racist windmills.
What Holder is seeking is nothing less than selective, preferential law enforcement where his “people” have functional immunity from arrest for most crimes. This is the very definition of social justice. It’s certainly not the rule of law, nor is it equality.
President Obama on Friday defended the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot dead Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014.
Obama said during a town hall in South Carolina that he had ‘complete confidence and [stood] fully behind’ the DOJ’s decision regarding Wilson, whom said he killed Brown in self defense.
‘We may never know exactly what happened, but Officer Wilson — like anyone else who is charged with a crime — benefits from due process and a reasonable-doubt standard,’ Obama said, fielding a question about why the DOJ didn’t charge Wilson. [skip]
Obama noted that a separate DOJ probe finding systematic bias within the Ferguson police ‘was very clear.’
‘What we saw was that the Ferguson Police Department, in conjunction with the municipality, saw traffic stops, arrests, tickets as a revenue generator as opposed to serving the community,’ Obama said, ‘and that systematically it was biased against African-Americans in that city, who were stopped, harassed, mistreated, abused, called names, fined — and then it was structured so that they would get caught up in paying more and more fines’ that they couldn’t pay, Obama said.
The City of Ferguson now has a choice, Obama said, to either enter an agreement with the DOJ to ‘fix what is clearly a broken and racially biased system’ or allow the agency to potentially sue over civil rights violations.
Obama, speaking to South Carolina’s Benedict College, a historically black institution, then offered a general defense of police officers.
“Here’s the lesson that I would draw from this. I don’t think that what happens in Ferguson is typical. I think the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers, here in South Carolina and any place else … [skip]
In an interview aired earlier in the day Friday, Obama said that while Ferguson was not typical, ‘it’s not an isolated incident.
Really Mr. President? And even if it were not an “isolated incident,” it’s a bad thing when the police shoot and kill violent felons that attack and try to kill them? Or is that a tragedy only if those felons are members of one of Mr. Obama’s preferred victim groups?
Despite a Justice Department report clearing police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder says he will do everything he can to change the law enforcement culture in Ferguson, Mo. If he feels the need to, Holder says he will seek to dismantle the Ferguson Police Department.
‘We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have, to ensure that the situation changes there,’ Holder told reporters on Friday according to the White House pool report.
‘That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure.’
And Holder did not stop there. He warned police departments across the country to heed his words, lest he go after them next.
‘I hope they’re listening to these comments, and understand the intensity with which the feelings are felt at the federal government level to ensure that we use all the tools that we can to make sure that what happened in Ferguson is uncovered and simply does not happen in any other part of the country,’ Holder said. ‘But I also want to make people understand, there are 18,000 police departments in this country, and I think what we saw in Ferguson was an anomaly.
One can only hope the City of Ferguson, perhaps with help from the State of Missouri, fights Holder and his evil minions tooth and nail. If the DOJ actually has to prove their case, they’ll end up having to slink back to DC with their respective tails between their legs, and perhaps, just perhaps, they’ll be less likely to try the same thing with other police departments.
The Ferguson Report Is a Farce…wrapped in a fraud, inside a sham. On the heels of the issuance of the Department of Justice’s Ferguson Report — one of the more frivolous and sophomoric ‘reports’ ever produced by the federal government — President Obama asserts that the pervasive racial discrimination found in the Ferguson Police Department occurs in departments across the country.
Now, maybe the Ferguson PD engages in systematic racial discrimination. Perhaps other departments also do. But nothing in this travesty of a report proves that, and the fact that the Department of Justice produced a report so buffoonish, so replete with conclusions unsupported by facts, so lacking in basic methodological rigor, is an embarrassment. The purported evidentiary capstone to the report’s conclusion that the Ferguson PD engages in a pattern of racial discrimination is an almost juvenile reliance on disparate impact. The DOJ asserts that even though blacks comprise only 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, they represent 85 percent of all vehicle stops. From this, the mathematically and logically-challenged DOJ concludes ‘These disparities are unexplainable on grounds other than race and evidence that racial bias has shaped law enforcement conduct.’
Unexplainable? Only to someone who hasn’t completed third-grade arithmetic. As Heather Mac Donald, Hans Bader, and others have noted, several studies over the last 20 years (including data adduced before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) show that black drivers commit various types of traffic offenses — including speeding, driving under suspension, DUI, and running red lights and stop signs – more often than drivers of other races. Could it be possible these phenomena contribute to the “unexplainable” disparities?
It’s clear that the report is designed to give cover to the president and attorney general, whose statements at the outset of the Michael Brown incident got ahead of the evidence. Its purpose is to perpetuate a politically useful narrative unsupported by facts. That, and to further the administration’s social-engineering goals.
Consider: To forestall future Michael Brown–type incidents, the report suggests that ‘increasing gender and sexual orientation diversity in policing in particular may be critical in re-making internal police culture and creating new assumptions in what makes policing effective.’ How this relates to purported racial discrimination in policing is anyone’s guess. [skip]
But, the report has accomplished its objective. It’s smeared police officers across the country, thereby giving the administration an excuse to exert greater control over local police departments. And it gives credence to the toxic storyline that the country as a whole remains nearly indistinguishable from 1960s Selma.
Jeffrey Williams’ “explanation” for his shooting of two white police officers is almost certainly entirely self-serving. If true, the people he supposedly had an argument with, an argument deserving of gunfire, should be easy to find and interview. What will likely happen is no such people will ever be found, but Williams and his attorneys will continue to argue that Williams wasn’t really trying to kill police officers, he was just trying to shoot at some other people, you know, just like most folks commonly do in a late night racial protest. Just because he was shooting a handgun in the general direction of plenty of people, many of whom happened to be police officers, isn’t evidence he actually intended to hurt anyone, and certainly not police officers.
A great many race hustlers have already taken to claiming that Williams was never a protestor in Ferguson. I’m sure the DOJ and Williams attorneys will also take up that narrative, which would tend suggest that his actions really weren’t racist and had nothing to do with the DOJ’s racist agitation.
I suspect such arguments will not carry much weight with a jury, but it will be important to Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder and their racist allies, providing the cover of which Kirsanow speaks. Unless one didn’t know better, unless one didn’t understand that this situation has nothing to do with race, one might be tempted to think it did. After all, we have a race-baiting President and Attorney General and all of his allies working overtime to fan the racial flames in Ferguson and elsewhere.
Mr. Obama, despite his claims to have been a “constitutional law professor,” never was. He was, at best, a part-time lecturer given a class for political reasons. His primary profession always has been “community organizer,” even though he admitted in his two (!?) autobiographies that he could not so much as explain to his closest friends what a community organizer did. However, by their fruits shall ye know them. Community organizers are not healers, they are con men that profit from anger, rage, and hatred, from keeping people at each other’s throats. They persuade people they are oppressed victims, and focus their rage on political and financial targets of opportunity. If businesses are closed or burned, if people are beaten or killed, that’s a small price to pay for social justice
As president, Mr. Obama remained true to his roots and ensured that the DOJ had its own community organizer bureau. He dispatched them, not only to Sanford, FL where they kept the racial pot stirred in the Trayvon Martin case, but to Ferguson, MO for the same purpose. These people did not work to calm racial tensions, to argue for the rule of law, but to use race as a weapon to the political advantage of Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder.
Both have a checkered history of racial incitement. Mr. Holder spoke of “my people,” while Mr. Obama had no idea of the actions of the police but said “the police acted stupidly” anyway. Both have, upon occasion, served the weak tea of insipid praise for the police, but reserved their true beliefs and most fiery rhetoric for attacking them.
Consider this from Holder, issued almost immediately after the arrest of Williams was announced:
This arrest sends a clear message that acts of violence against our law enforcement personnel will never be tolerated,’ Holder said in the statement. ‘In the days ahead, we will continue to partner with the authorities in St. Louis County to secure justice for all those affected by this heinous and cowardly crime. And we will continue to stand vigilant in support of public safety officers and the communities they serve.’
Hours after the shooting, Holder and Obama condemned the attack.
“They’re criminals. They need to be arrested,’ Obama said. ‘And then what we need to do is make sure that like-minded, good-spirited people on both sides — law-enforcement who have a terrifically tough job and people who understand they don’t want to be stopped and harassed because of their race — that we’re able to work together to try and come up with some good answers.
Notice that neither could simply express relief that the criminal that shot the officers was in custody, nor could they issue a simple, unqualified statement of support for our nation’s police. They had to inject race, claiming they would support communities the police serve, and injecting a racist slap at those evil cops that stop and harass people because of their race, which to their way of thinking, are everywhere.
Barack Obama and Eric Holder are said—by themselves and their worshipers—to be the most brilliant human beings ever to humble themselves by undertaking public service. If so, surely they understand their racial hustling is not only failing to calm troubled racial waters, but is bringing them to a boil that is manifesting as gunfire directed at the police. It is no coincidence that the most recent murders and attacks on police officers have been committed by angry black men inspired by the politicized, racially charged atmosphere created by Holder, Obama and other race hustlers.
Oh, but that’s not fair! Really? What President of the United States that invited a white supremacist and race hustler to the White House some 80 times would be able to escape well-founded charges of racism? Should that not apply equally to a President that did the same with Al Sharpton?
That Obama and Holder did not themselves shoot at the officers in Ferguson is true. But they have, on innumerable occasions, spoken on the topic of race, and the number of times their rhetoric was neutral, or actually calculated to calm racial animus are few compared with the enormous number of times they consciously made things worse. Their actions are equally lop-sided in favor of maintaining racial strife.
Whose mother would allow their son to get away with this kind of involvement in wrong-doing, even if they did not commit the primary wrong? Flyover country Americans know the difference between right and wrong, even when the President and Attorney General don’t.
The damage done by Obama and Holder is far from over. They are particularly unlikely to suddenly become responsible statesmen. They have nearly two years to fan the racial flames even higher, and they’ll surely want to go out in a blaze of social justice glory, regardless of whether it leaves America in flames.
NOTE: Shortly before I posted this article, I found a related article by Richard A. Epstein, whose work I have found to be particularly well reasoned. His article is a fine companion piece and is surely worth your time.