Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Honest Discussion Of Race Includes Discussing The Race-Baiters

This president has been a disaster, which I expected--but I didn't expect him to be a disaster in race relations, which every poll has shown have gotten worse during his time in office.  Think of his response to Cornel West's run-in with the police (they acted "stupidly"), his involvement in the Trayvon Martin imbroglio (if he had a son, he'd have looked like Trayvon), and the Ferguson, MO riots:
The most recent news from Ferguson concerns what Eric Holder has rightly called the “ambush shooting” of two police officers outside the city’s police department. This incident occurred in the wake of two detailed reports released by the Department of Justice. The first report deals in depth with the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson....

Let’s start with the DOJ report that exonerated Wilson. The federal prosecutors ran an exhaustive review of all the physical, forensic, and testimonial evidence in the case. It is necessary to state its final conclusion in full: “Darren Wilson’s actions do not constitute prosecutable violations under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. § 242, which prohibits uses of deadly force that are ‘objectively unreasonable,’ as defined by the United States Supreme Court. The evidence, when viewed as a whole, does not support the conclusion that Wilson’s uses of deadly force were “objectively unreasonable” under the Supreme Court’s definition. Accordingly, under the governing federal law and relevant standards set forth in the USAM [United States Attorneys’ Manual], it is not appropriate to present this matter to a federal grand jury for indictment, and it should therefore be closed without prosecution.”

The legal conclusion is surely correct, but the tone of the report’s findings are slanted against Wilson. It is not just the case that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. It is that, beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence supports that Wilson’s conduct was fully justified. During the initial encounter, Brown had tried to wrest Wilson’s gun from him by reaching into Wilson’s Chevy Tahoe SUV. Wilson’s story was corroborated, to quote the report, “by bruising on Wilson’s jaw and scratches on his neck, the presence of Brown’s DNA on Wilson’s collar, shirt, and pants, and Wilson’s DNA on Brown’s palm.” Later on, the evidence also showed that Brown was running toward Wilson at the time Wilson fired the fatal shots, not knowing whether Brown was armed or not. The incident was far clearer than the oft-ticklish situations in which the courts have to decide whether a police officer used excessive force against a person who was resisting arrest, as with the controversial grand jury decision not to indict any police officer for the killing of Eric Garner.

What the DOJ now has to do is to acknowledge that the killing of Michael Brown was a justifiable homicide. It must abandon its contrived legalisms and defend Wilson, by condemning unequivocally the entire misguided campaign against him, which resulted in threats against his life and forced his resignation from the police force. Eric Holder owes Wilson an apology for the unnecessary anguish that Wilson has suffered. As the Attorney General for all Americans, he must tell the protestors once and for all that their campaign has been thoroughly misguided from start to finish, and that their continued protests should stop in the interests of civic peace and racial harmony. In light of the past vilification of Wilson, it is not enough for the DOJ to publish the report, and not trumpet its conclusions. It is necessary to put that report front and center in the public debate so that everyone now understands that Wilson behaved properly throughout the entire incident.
In other words, "hands up, don't shoot" was a lie from the beginning, but it was aided and encouraged by a black president and a black attorney general for reasons too sick to tolerate.  When the attorney general said, early in his tenure, that America is a nation of cowards because it doesn't talk about race, I say we're just the opposite--too many people talk too much about race and nothing else. 

It's not 1957 anymore.  The president and the attorney general should join the rest of us in the 21st century.


maxutils said...

I agree with you about the tone of the report … but, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Holder make a statement much closer to exonerating Darren Wilson? Of course, we can't forget that he also flew down to Ferguson to jump to the conclusion that he was guilty -- something which he did not do when the two officers got shot. That only warranted a statement from afar -- and, a preliminary statement that (despite the proximity to the protest and the targets) that it may not have been related to the protest … really? Am I an idiot? So I'm not carrying Holder's water, but I do believe he came as close to an apology as one might expect. Doesn't help Officer Wilson, though -- he still had to resign and move.

Ellen K said...

The issue is the public perception and how it differs based on age, sex or race. All professions have their bad actors. That being said, when someone tries to convince me the government is covering up for Wilson, I ask them pointedly if they really believe the Dept. of Justice, run by Eric Holder under the auspices of President Obama would blindly exonerate Officer Wilson if there was even on speck of guilt? Either you believe Wilson is innocent or you believe Obama and Holder are guilty of a racist cover up. There is no middle ground.