Monday, December 08, 2014

Did DOJ Help Spark Riots By Agitating Ferguson Residents Over 'White Privilege?'

Apparently officials from the Obama Justice Department had a dual mission when they arrived in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown. Aside from investigating the incident, a separate group of Justice Department officials were there to amp up the outrage and sense of grievance of the inhabitants with meetings on topics like “white privilege.”

The DOJ’s Community Relations Service arrived in Ferguson purportedly to lessen the tension between protesters and city officials. But sources who attended the DOJ’s private gatherings with Ferguson residents tell NRO that the Justice Department also sought to educate and question the community about the issues of white privilege and racism. The political nature of the Justice Department’s intervention in Ferguson may not be exclusive to its interactions with residents; it also might have affected its ongoing investigations into the Ferguson Police Department and officer Darren Wilson. {...}

'Political nature?' That couldn't have anything to do with this, could it?

In an e-mail to NRO, a Justice Department spokeswoman said the meetings were designed to ease tension. The spokeswoman requested that NRO not quote her e-mails and added that it’s not the role of Community Relations Service officials to take a position on issues of race. Robert Driscoll, who from 2001 to 2003 was the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s chief of staff, says it’s not standard for these officials to educate the community about white privilege, and he called such action unfortunate. “Their function is supposed to be on the ground . . . and to talk to people and let them know what the processes are at the Department of Justice,” he says. “The hope is that it’s a way to channel public sentiment to avoid civil unrest.” Rioters still managed to burn down much of the town in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson, but Knowles says he thinks the Community Relations Service’s involvement has been constructive nonetheless.

However, the mayor says he thinks the DOJ’s investigators misled him from their very first encounter, and he has concerns about DOJ’s ability to conduct a fair investigation. He says the investigators, including Jonathan Smith, the Civil Rights Division’s special litigation chief, told him that the purpose of their first meeting was to determine whether an investigation was necessary. But by the time Knowles got home from the meeting, Attorney General Eric Holder was on television announcing the investigation. “Clearly the decision was already made before they even met with me,” he says.

In other words, officials in the Department of Justice weren't trying to cool down what was already an inflamed situation...they were trying to turn up the heat.After which, of course, rioters and looter burned down a fair amount of the city. And why not? They had a was payback for 'white privilege!'

Just imagine how much anguish is behind those words, 'rioters and looter burned down a fair amount of the city.' People had businesses and property they had scrimped and saved for years to build and establish destroyed because of an attempt to gin up black turnout to keep Democrats in control of the senate.

And the mayor's statements about these meeting being constructive seem odd in view of his other statements that the meetings usually ended with a number of people 'angry and screaming.'

In another interesting remark, Mayor Knowles said that he thinks that Attorney General Eric Holder's public statements have built up expectations of legal payback against police officers like Darren Wilson. Which, when they fail to do so, will unleash another wave of violent riots that are of course 'justice' no peace, remember?

But apparently the Department of Justice is using Ferguson as a template in other 'investigations', even when there's no evidence any civil rights violations have been committed:

The Civil Rights Division’s pattern of behavior elsewhere indicates that Ferguson is not the only community receiving special attention from the Justice Department. During the past five fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division has opened more than 20 “pattern or practice” investigations into police departments throughout the country — such as the one involving the Ferguson Police Department — which is more than twice as many as were opened in the previous five years, according to a statement from Holder on Thursday. These investigations are conducted to determine whether local law-enforcement officers have engaged in a pattern or practice that deprives people of rights protected by U.S. law or the Constitution.

While a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in November, the Department of Justice seems to be hunkering down for the long haul. Holder pledged in a Post-Dispatch op-ed published earlier this summer that, “long after the events of Aug. 9 [Brown’s death] have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.” He did not say what it would take for DOJ to walk away from Ferguson, and that remains to be seen.

The force behind the Justice Department’s lasting presence in Ferguson may be Vanita Gupta, who was selected to lead the Civil Rights Division in October after heading up the American Civil Liberties Union’s efforts on Ferguson. Before beginning her new job, Gupta advocated for the Justice Department to take a more proactive role in its independent federal investigations and called for racial-bias training for forces that receive federal grants. A week ago, Holder announced his intention to “institute rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling once and for all,” which were specifically directed at police. He said the Justice Department is preparing to implement these changes in the coming days. After announcing the changes, Holder went on to say, “In recent weeks, there have arisen great sparks of humanity, and hope, that illuminate the way forward.”

'Sparks' was perhaps a poor choice of words in view of what the DOJ helped ignite in Ferguson, but it could be that's exactly what our attorney general means to encourage.

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