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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Black activists blast idea of Ferguson lawsuit

'Holder seems set on punishing the department to burnish his image with hoodlums'



Black activists who are part of Project 21, an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research, say the idea of a Department of Justice lawsuit against Ferguson, Missouri, over the fallout from the shooting death last year of black teenager Michael Brown is unwarranted.

After all, there’s already been a grand jury, which refused to indict the police officer who shot the allegedly aggressive Brown, and a separate federal investigation that produced no charges, they argue.
“One of this nation’s most racially polarizing figures, Attorney General Eric Holder, is leaving office with threats that he will sue the police department in Ferguson, Missouri,” said Project 21 member Joe Hicks.
Hicks is a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission.
“Any claims that Ferguson police acted in racially discriminatory ways appear to be based on Holder’s own biased disappointment that white officer Darren Wilson was not found worthy of prosecution by a grand jury for the shooting of a black teenager,” Hicks said.
“And, despite the actions of a willing and compliant Ferguson Police Department, jumping through hoops to comply with the Justice Department’s politically correct nitpicking, Holder now seems set on punishing the department simply to burnish his image with nihilistic hoodlums, street radicals, anarchists and race hustlers,” he said. “This only adds to his shocking legacy of racial divisiveness.”
Project 21 is a “national leadership network of black conservatives” that promotes the “views of African-Americans whose entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to family and commitment to individual responsibility has not traditionally been echoed by the nation’s civil rights establishment.”
There have been multiple reports of a looming lawsuit, but Project 21 members say it would be “a cynical move by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder to get a ‘pound of flesh’ before he leaves his post.”
“When the grand jury came back with no indictment, and Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department let it leak that they probably would not be able to pursue civil rights charges against former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, it was clear they were still going to try to get their pound of flesh from somewhere. The obvious place to get it is going to be the Ferguson Police Department,” said Project 21 member Christopher Arps.
The St. Louis area resident attended the initial prayer service for Michael Brown, and he was a bystander as the riots in Ferguson began.
“Ferguson will likely settle the case, and Holder will call this strong-arm tactic a triumph for justice. But it’s still questionable that it will satisfy those who, despite overwhelming evidence saying this was a justified shooting, still claim that Michael Brown was assassinated,” he said.
Holder has said that the results of his agency’s investigation could be released soon.
Others chimed in.
“Having failed in his attempt to bring federal civil rights charges against Officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder now threatens charges against the Ferguson Police Department. When will Holder admit this entire event has been a fiasco of this administration’s own making?” asked Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper.
He has taught constitutional law at George Mason University and is a former leadership staff member for the U.S. House.
“The ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative was a lie, and the Michael Brown shooting itself provided no insight into law enforcement-minority relations. Instead of going after the Ferguson Police Department, the Justice Department should apologize for presuming the worst before the evidence was known. This shoot first, ask questions later civil rights policy is short-sighted and ultimately undermines overall public support for equality,” Cooper said.
WND reported Thursday that the posturing by left-leaning activists over the Ferguson tragedy appears to be continuing.
Months earlier, Townhall’s Katie Pavlich obtained a copy of a letter from Ron Hoski, a former FBI assistant director, to President Obama about the “damage” that has been done to the relationship between police and the DOJ.
“The hyper-politicization of justice issues has made it immeasurably more difficult for police officers to simply do their jobs,” he wrote. “The growing divide between the police and the people – perhaps best characterized by protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, who angrily chanted, ‘It’s not black or white. It’s blue!’ – only benefits … members of a political class seeking to vilify law enforcement for other societal failures,” the letter said at the time.
Now, Liberty News is trumpeting the headline “Holder Strikes One Last Time” in reference to reports that the Department of Justice was preparing a lawsuit against Ferguson police in a hurry before Holder leaves office.
AP quoted city officials saying they had not heard anything about any action, and WND was unable to obtain comment because the voice mail for the city media relations office was filled and couldn’t accept messages.
The report said Stephanie Karr, the Ferguson city attorney, and Mayor James Knowles III reported no contact regarding any Department of Justice investigation findings or a time frame for completing that.
“We haven’t had any recent conversations with the Department of Justice, so we don’t know what they’re going to say,” Knowles said.
CNN had said the DOJ was preparing the lawsuit “over a pattern of racially discriminatory tactics used by officers, if the police department does not agree to make changes on its own.”
A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the shooting based on evidence indicating Brown was the aggressor, possibly even reaching into Wilson’s police vehicle and trying to take his service weapon away from him.
The CNN report said sources reported Wilson would not face federal counts, but the DOJ wants court supervision of changes in the department.


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