Archive for Race in America

Blue Lives Matter

Not to everyone, however:

A black Nebraska state senator compared American police to Islamic terrorists and suggested he’d shoot a cop if only he had a weapon.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers said during a legislative hearing on gun bills Friday that you don’t have to go halfway around the world to find an ISIS mentality. It can be found in America because police terrorize blacks every day.

He was referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has beheaded journalists and brutally executed Westerners and others.

“My ISIS is the police,” Chambers said, adding police can get away with shooting people if they “think” they’re going to do something — like pull a weapon.

“The police are licensed to kill us — children, old people,” he said.

But he’s seen the error of his ways:

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant,” Chambers said.

He said the irony is that lawmakers were discussing freedom of expression on Wednesday, and said it was ignorant and “idle talk” to suggest taking any kind of legal action, since lawmakers are immune from civil or criminal liability in connection with anything they say in the Legislature.

“I’m not going to resign,” he said. “I’m not going to apologize. Why do you think I would apologize?”

Because you compared police officers to ISIS, and said you’d shoot them if you had a gun. Any other questions, dopey?

You say it’s a freedom of expression issue, but it’s the actions I’m talking about

A veteran San Jose police officer was shot and killed Tuesday night by a suicidal man apparently wielding a high-powered rifle, authorities said.

Here’s another reason I think you should apologize:

Kiel High School will host funeral services on Sunday for a Wisconsin state trooper who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice identified the trooper as 21-year-old Trevor Casper of Kiel.

The young Wisconsin State Patrol trooper was on his first solo patrol since receiving his badge when he was killed in a shootout with a bank robbery suspect in Fond du Lac.

And this:

A 27-year-old Milwaukee man has been charged with two counts of attempted homicide after he shot at two Milwaukee police officers who were investigating an apparent drug deal last week, according to a criminal complaint.

And this:

A Rock Hill man was arrested Monday night, accused of shooting at a Rock Hill Police officer.

Sgt. Tony Breeden made a traffic stop in the Food Lion parking lot on Heckle Boulevard around 10:30 p.m. Monday. The car had been speeding, according to a police report.

A passenger in the back seat of the car, Maurice Blanding, 30, of Rock Hill, fled on foot into the woods. When Breeden followed Blanding, Blanding fired one shot at the officer.

And this:

A burglary suspect opened fire on a Phoenix Police Officer, and his officers fired back.

Both the officer and the suspect were hit by bullets.

Medics took one wounded officer to the hospital in serious condition. A second was also treated for an injury, it’s unclear if the second officer was shot.

Those are just in the past week.

Police officers are given a great deal of authority over our lives, authority they must exercise responsibly. There are many news stories of their not doing so, or at least accusations of irresponsibility.

But there are legal and civil remedies for saying what this Nebraska state senator said. Recall election, censure, defeat at the next election. He has responsibility over his authority, and he violated his as much as any cop. Who’s to say it won’t have fatal consequences, if it hasn’t already?

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Only You Can Prevent Racism

At least at Starbucks, you could choose not to have the conversation (lecture, actually) on race.

What choice do you have in this case, go to the beach instead?

A top U.S. Forest Service executive told his employees to probe their own “unconscious bias” on everything from race and sexuality to the disabled and fat people, asking them to use an unproven assessment tool to explore their feelings.

The online test, which Forest Management Director Bryan Rice urged other agency directors to use as well, specifically warns of problems when it is taken “outside of the safeguards of a research institution.” Users also are told to be careful about how far to go in interpreting the results.

Mr. Rice, in a March 11 email to his employees, also instructed them to read a New York Times piece titled “Straight talk for white men,” which argues that white men benefit from unconscious bias. He also shared a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that shows managers are more likely to hire those with a “very white sounding name” over those with a “very African American sounding name.”

In an email to The Washington Times, Mr. Rice said he believed the tests would help build a better workplace for his team.

“The intent of using the unconscious bias material is to assist with efforts to foster a work environment where everyone is respected and valued,” he said. “The unconscious bias material can help us explore diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It was included in a discussion of diversity as part of a continuous series of collaborative discussions on a variety of topics we have on my staff that cover key Forest Service policies and values as a means of fostering continued awareness.”

I’m sorry, which agency is this again? The U.S. Forest Service?

Like most of you, I’m sure, I oppose racism. Nasty business, no place for it. I’m just not sure I’ve ever encountered it in the woods. I mean, we have the White Mountains up in New Hampshire, but that’s only because they are actually kind of white (from mica in the granite). Anyone can go there. I’m sure the Great Smoky Mountains are similarly open to all, regardless of… well, open to all. Where, exactly, does bias, conscious or unconscious, enter into it?

One senior congressional aide said the Forest Service should have bigger things to worry about.

“At some point this year, thousands of Americans will have to flee their homes because of catastrophic wildfires caused by poorly managed Forest Service lands,” the aide said. “And when some of those people return to smoldering piles that were once their homes, they will be comforted that under this administration, the Forest Service has been vigilant in testing against unconscious biases.”

Quite.

This is as absurd as NASA’s outreach to Muslims. Incongruous barely covers it: bizarre. Who thinks this stuff up?

Mr. Obama in 2011 signed an executive order calling on agencies to promote diversity, including specific plans for each agency.

Of course. Should have known. Happy Nowruz, sir.

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Typical Half-White Person

What we speak of when we speak of race:

That’s where Obama got the smoking habit!

Long before Michelle Obama became First Lady, her mother had misgivings about her marrying a young man named Barack Obama — because he was biracial.

In a Chicago TV interview that aired during Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign — and newly resurrected by Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin in a book due out next month — Marion Robinson confessed to being “a little bit” wary about her future son-in-law being the product of a white mom and black dad.

But it could’ve been worse, according to Robinson.

“That didn’t concern me as much as had he been completely white,” Robinson laughed in the appearance on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” which was scarcely noticed at the time.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Dodged a bullet on that one!

Can’t wait to rush down to Starbucks to talk about this! Care to meet me, Aggie? I’m buying!

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What to Talk About at Starbucks

You may have heard the management at Starbucks is going to encourage conversations about race at their various establishments. I’m going to run right out and get me a macchiato so I can say this:

Ahem.

I hate everything about this country. Like, I hate fat [African] Americans. All the people who are crunched into the [inner-cities] of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist [liberal] [black] people who live [i]n their [ghettos]. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma — that’s really America.

Okay, I don’t make a lot of sense, but neither does Azealia Banks

If Azealia Banks is asked to leave the United States, that will probably be OK with her.

“I hate everything about this country,” the rapper told Playboy interviewer Rob Tannenbaum. “Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma — that’s really America.”

A girl who looks like that can say a lot of [bleep]. But I’m going to have to see more skin if I’m going to keep listening.

Yes darling? You were saying?

“Really, the generational effects of Jim Crow and poverty linger on. As long as I have my money, I’m getting the f**k out of here and I’m gonna leave y’all to your own devices.”

I might have to buy the magazine—strictly for the interviews, you understand:

Can’t wait to see the Dick Cheney centerfold!

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Pistol-Packin’ ‘Bama

I was trolling deep in the cyber-cellar and came across this photograph:

What the hell is that? Why haven’t I seen it before (the post where I saw it dates from December 2012)? If it’s just innocent fun, why has the web buried it?

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Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Cast your mind back to the heady days of 2007-08 when a young community-activist-turned-US-Senator believed that Yes He Could take the White House.

There was only one problem. This “clean, articulate” (per Joe Biden), “light-skinned African American” (per Harry Reid), “with a negro dialect when he wanted to” (ditto), who should have been “serving us coffee” (per Bill Clinton) didn’t connect with black folks. He was always “talking down to black people” (per Jesse Jackson), leading one to stage-whisper he wanted to “cut his nuts off” (ditto).

Who you gonna call?

Near the end of 2007, Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett met with Al Sharpton in New York City and began to cement a relationship that would eventually make the inflammatory activist the president’s “go-to man” on race, according to multiple sources.

The backdrop to the incipient Obama-Sharpton alliance was the then-senator’s 2008 presidential campaign, which still hadn’t locked away the black vote, and the political cross-currents created by two other controversial reverends, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright.

That tentative relationship has now grown into a full-blown partnership that has vastly increased the once-shunned Sharpton’s influence and prestige and elevated him into a key White House ally at a time of heightened tension over policing and race.

[A]s it turned out, from her days in Chicago, Jarrett already “hated Jesse Jackson,” a source close to Sharpton tells me. “Obama needed a legitimate black voice from the civil-rights community,” the source adds. “Jesse had made disparaging comments about Obama, [so] Jesse got sidelined. Sharpton is the next person in line.”

What a resume line: second best race-hustler to Jesse Jackson. And how has that relationship blossomed?

Of the 61 visits in the White House logs, Sharpton says: “If you’re looking at the fact that I’ve gone to receptions, I’ve gone to immigration meetings, I’ve gone to meetings on education, I’ve gone to meetings on civil rights — that’s not exceptional at all over six years. Are you serious? You’re talking less than a meeting a month, and that includes meetings in the Eisenhower Office Building on immigration, education,” he says. Later, he adds: “It’s not just one relationship. You’re taking about an administration. You’re not talking about a personal relationship.”

A meeting a month is more than Obama gives to most of his cabinet members. And while Al Sharpton may have a misplaced role to play in “meetings on civil rights”, what of use does he have to contribute to education or immigration?

Wherever Al Sharpton goes, from 125th Street in Harlem to Ferguson, MO, riot, mayhem, and violence follow. Obama made his deal with the lesser devil. May he be stuck with him.

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Picking Up the Pieces of a Shattered Justice System

You think the immigrations system is “broken” (everyone’s favorite word)?

After Ferguson, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Justice together again:

And it confirms that eyewitnesses either lied to investigators or refused to be interviewed out of fear of local vigilantes.

“Witness 109 claimed to have witnessed the shooting, stated that it was justified, and repeatedly refused to give formal statements to law enforcement for fear of reprisal should the Canfield Drive neighborhood find out that his account corroborated Wilson.”

Witness 113 “gave an account that generally corroborated Wilson, but only after she was confronted with statements she initially made in an effort to avoid neighborhood backlash. . . . She explained to the FBI that ‘You’ve gotta live the life to know it,’ and stated that she feared offering an account contrary to the narrative reported by the media that Brown held his hands up in surrender.”

Now there’s a story for the media: A community in which honest people can’t tell the truth for fear of running afoul local thugs enforcing “the narrative reported by the media.” Or is that more of a story about the media?

Courts can send you to the can for five years for the crime of perjury; another five for suborning perjury. Intimidating a witness has its own set of sentencing guidelines.

How many of you out there think a single witness or community “activist” will be charged with lying before the Grand Jury? Me neither. Same goes for those who looted, pillaged, and incited riot. Nothing. No justice.

So, Darren Wilson gets off (under an assumed name and new identity somewhere in Idaho); not so lucky Ferguson:

But let’s move to the other Ferguson fable, which is the Justice Department’s allegation, in an unfortunate second report, of systemic racism in the Ferguson police department.

This isn’t to say that the report doesn’t uncover more serious problems, including a number of racist emails in the department, policing that seems needlessly obnoxious or aggressive, and a municipal government desperate to prosecute every minor violation of the law in order to maximize city revenues—in effect, using cops as taxmen.

But this only demonstrates the journalistic truism that you can always find the “story” you’re looking for. Using ticket revenue and other fines to raise revenues is one of the oldest municipal tricks in the book, so much so that the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis even published a paper about it in 2006. “As local tax bases have been exhausted and public opposition to increases in local tax rates have increased over time, local governments face increased pressure to find alternative sources of revenue,” noted economists Thomas Garrett and Gary Wagner.

That turns out to be as true in Milwaukee, Nashville and Washington, D.C., as it is in Ferguson. So are we talking about institutional racism or just the usual government bloodsucking?

Exactly. The police were acting on instructions from elected officials. Just as they were in Staten Island, when trying to arrest Eric Garner for the tax crime of selling loose cigarettes on the street corner. It is a terrible use (and abuse) of police power, corrosive to the relationship between the officer on the beat and the community, but it is lawful. Blame the politicians who demand it, not the cops forced to carry it out. Same goes for the SWAT teams fielded by any number of federal agencies, from Education to the Railroad Retirement Board.

[T]he lesson of Ferguson is that there is no truth in statistics. There is truth in fact. There is truth in reason. There is truth in truthfulness. Nothing less.

To which I would add there is no truth in anything Obama and Holder have to say on race. None. Which is why they return to the subject so often.

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Putting the Movement in the Civil Rights Movement

When I first heard that people were gathering to praise Selma, I couldn’t have been more on board:

Hallelujah.

Then I understood it was Selma, Alabama, not Salma Hayak, they were extolling. Honest mistake.

But I was still down with the struggle. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, and hundreds of others bravely marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the face of police violence and societal hostility.

Thanks to their courage, and overwhelming Republican help, the Voting Rights Act was later passed in Congress—just as the Civil Rights Act had been passed the year before, also with massive Republican support. It is altogether fitting and proper that we pay our respects a half-century later.

I even chided the Republican Congressional leadership for passing up a historic opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to equal protection under the law that their forebears stood for. (Even if George W. Bush was airbrushed out of many news photos.)

But when I heard that they would have to sit through another speech by Barack Obama, I had to admit that I, too, would have checked for tee times, rather than sit through another oration from His Articulateness. Life is too short.

But it began so promisingly:

The air was thick with doubt, anticipation and fear. And they comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

“No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.”

And then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, and a book on government — all you need for a night behind bars — John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

President and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Mayor Evans, Sewell, Reverend Strong, members of Congress, elected officials, foot soldiers, friends, fellow Americans:

As John noted, there are places and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided. Many are sites of war — Concord and Lexington, Appomattox, Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character — Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

So far, so good—if only because Obama is largely quoting someone else.

He went on:

The Americans who crossed this bridge, they were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, countless daily indignities –- but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages. Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible, that love and hope can conquer hate.

Good.

And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place? What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people –- unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many, coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this, what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience. That’s why it’s not a museum or a static monument to behold from a distance. It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents: “We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.” “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Again, very good. But I would observe that by this time at Gettysburg—more than thirty minutes having passed—Lincoln had finished his address, shaken every hand, posed for daguerreotypes, and was back on a train bound for DC. It’s all very pretty, but, like cotton candy, insubstantial. Lincoln said more of historic importance in 90 seconds than Obama has said in six-plus years.

And then he had the gall to say this:

[It] is to suggest that Ferguson is an isolated incident; that racism is banished; that the work that drew men and women to Selma is now complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes. We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true. We just need to open our eyes, and our ears, and our hearts to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.

If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination. All of us will need to feel as they did the fierce urgency of now. All of us need to recognize as they did that change depends on our actions, on our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such an effort, no matter how hard it may sometimes seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

With such an effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some. Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on –- the idea that police officers are members of the community they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland, they just want the same thing young people here marched for 50 years ago -– the protection of the law.

Together, we can address unfair sentencing and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and good workers, and good neighbors.

Then why aren’t they? What’s stopping them? Why wasn’t Michael Brown a good dad? Or Eric Garner a good worker? (I’ll give you the Cleveland shooting: even though the kid was waving a pellet gun, it looks like the cop shot first and asked questions later.)

Ferguson turned out to be about nothing more than jaywalking (and the alleged overzealous ticketing of same); “New York” was about a man with a heart condition resisting arrest for violating of a city ordinance against selling “loosies”. What an insult to compare those tawdry tales of petty criminality to the saga of Selma.

But he wasn’t done (the video runs an astonishing 32 minutes!):

Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person. Because the single-most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” “We The People.” “We Shall Overcome.” “Yes We Can.” That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

See how neatly he inserts himself into the American narrative? The Declaration of Independence, the Civil Rights Movement, the 2008 North Carolina Democratic Primary. We are so privileged to have lived through it. I’m all for improving this great nation of ours, and we could start with his removal.

By the way, who remembers that Hillary actually got more votes, and a higher percentage, than Obama in the 2008 primaries? Other than herself, I mean?

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How Clueless is the GOP Leadership?

How high the moon?

None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.

“It is very disappointing that not a single Republican leader sees the value in participating in this 50th commemoration of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. I had hoped that some of the leadership would attend, but apparently none of them will,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. “The Republicans always talk about trying to change their brand and be more appealing to minority folks and be in touch with the interests of African-Americans. This is very disappointing.”

Still, a number of rank-and-file Republicans are attending. Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, is a co-sponsor of the event along with Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama. Scott is the first African-American Republican elected from the South since the end of Reconstruction.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the GOP leadership team in the Senate, will attend the events.

Roby’s office said Thursday 23 Republican House and Senate members are registered to attend the pilgrimage.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who participated in the 1965 march alongside Martin Luther King Jr., said he was disappointed that House Republican leaders wouldn’t make the trip. Former President George W. Bush and his wife are expected to attend Saturday’s ceremonies, as is President Barack Obama.

“I wish we had someone in the [Republican] leadership going,” Lewis said. “President Bush is going to be there, but I think it would have been fitting and appropriate for them to make a trip.”

Update: His wish is their command:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will now go to Selma Saturday to join in the 50th anniversary events.

McCarthy tells CNN he considers John Lewis a close friend, and wants to be there to commemorate the historic anniversary.

McCarthy has been to Selma in the past, and he and Lewis worked together to show the movie Selma to all lawmakers in a Capitol auditorium.

Twenty-three Republicans (or is it 24 now?) is not none, but it’s far short of enough. And Boehner and McConnell are especially shameful absences.

Especially since Republicans are the party of civil rights. As I’ve lectured you repeatedly over the years, Republicans voted for the Voting Rights Act in higher percentages than Democrats:

The House approved this conference report version of the bill on August 3 by a 328-74 vote (Democrats 217-54, Republicans 111-20), and the Senate passed it on August 4 by a 79-18 vote (Democrats 49-17, Republicans 30-1).

Ditto for the Civil Rights Act of a year earlier:

The original House version:[20]
Democratic Party: 152–96 (61–39%)
Republican Party: 138–34 (80–20%)

Cloture in the Senate:[21]
Democratic Party: 44–23 (66–34%)
Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

The Senate version:[20]
Democratic Party: 46–21 (69–31%)
Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

The Senate version, voted on by the House:[20]
Democratic Party: 153–91 (63–37%)
Republican Party: 136–35 (80–20%)

Republicans, never less than four-to-one; Dems, only once more than two-to-one. A rout.

Shame on the GOP today for not honoring its proud and noble heritage.

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Where Does Darren Wilson Go to Get His Reputation Back?

Witness protection:

The Justice Department formally closed its investigation of Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson, declining to bring criminal charges for the killing of Michael Brown.

In a report released Wednesday, prosecutors said that “Wilson’s actions do not constitute prosecutable violations” of federal civil rights law.

“There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety,” the Justice Department report said.

The Justice Department investigation found that Brown reached into Wilson’s squad car and that a struggle ensued. Prosecutors couldn’t corroborate Wilson’s claim that Brown reached for his gun, but couldn’t find any evidence to disprove Wilson’s account. Brown moved at least 180 feet away from Wilson, but then turned and moved toward the officer, prosecutors said. Several witnesses claimed that Brown had his hands up, signaling surrender, when Wilson shot him. Some gave varying accounts, and some later recanted those claims made in media interviews.

The report says: “While credible witnesses gave varying accounts of exactly what Brown was doing with his hands as he moved toward Wilson — i.e., balling them, holding them out, or pulling up his pants — and varying accounts of how he was moving — i.e. ‘charging,’ moving in ‘slow motion’ or ‘running’ — they all establish that Brown was moving toward Wilson when Wilson shot him.”

Hands up, don’t shoot? Try hands out, don’t stint.

But Holder always gets his man (in blue):

In a separate report, the Justice Department described what it said was a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans by the Ferguson police and municipal courts.

The department suggested 26 recommendations, including requiring the Ferguson police to providing training to ensure officers aren’t using bias in policing; that officers practice community policing by getting out of their cars and getting to know their communities; and that the police focus stops, searches and ticketing on protecting the public instead of as a fundraising method for the city’s coffers.

The investigation found that the Ferguson police and courts used minor traffic and other violations to raise money for the city, targeted African-American motorists for traffic infractions, and black residents disproportionately for violations such as jay walking.

Fine. Squeeze the cops till it hurts. As a jay walker of pallor, I support the equal opportunity to cross against the light. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find this sort of behavior in most police departments. The Ferguson fracas and fiasco wasn’t about the execution of an unarmed black man; it wasn’t about how much black lives matter; it was about jay walking. What a waste of time, money, and wide-screen TVs.

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That’s It?

To employ one of my recurrent themes: what was that all about?

ACCORDING TO a report in Monday’s New York Times, the Justice Department is preparing to tell the embattled Ferguson, Mo., police department to shape up or get sued. In an impending analysis, the Justice Department will reportedly accuse Ferguson authorities of racially discriminatory practices, a move that will force them to change their behavior voluntarily or face a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Uh-oh. Here comes the boom:

Justice Department investigators conducted a wide-ranging inquiry into the Ferguson police, from patrol car to lockup. One major finding, according to the Times, is that officers disproportionately pull over and arrest African Americans.

Eric Holder storms into Ferguson, MO like some crusading crime fighter, with the might and weight of the Justice Department behind him (and the rest of the Executive Branch behind them), and all he comes up with is excessive traffic stops for black people? For cause, it would seem, given the arrests that followed?

That’s it?

I use the analogy too often, but it so often fits: they nailed Al Capone only for tax evasion. Except in this case, the Ferguson PD isn’t guilty of much more than excessive ticketing (if even that). If the arrests after the traffic stops were bogus, I’m sure the Justice Department would have said so.

Michael Brown didn’t die because he or anyone else was pulled over in a traffic stop. He died because he got high, knocked over a convenience store (roughing up the owner in the process), walked obliviously down the middle of the street and MF-ed the cop who told him to knock it off, got into a fight with said cop, punching him and trying to grab his sidearm, then bull-rushed the cop when ordered to stop leaving the scene of the above crimes.

For Holder and company to go all Elliot Ness on FPD and come away with this report is an embarrassment. To Eric Holder.

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Sorry, Trayvon

Can’t say they didn’t try:

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that George Zimmerman will not face federal criminal civil rights charges for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, 17, while the unarmed African American teenager was walking in Sanford, Fla. The shooting became a national flash-point, sparking a discussion of race relations that continues to reverberate in the wake of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and other incidents across the country.

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country.”

Holder that the “comprehensive examination” determined that there was not enough evidence for a federal hate crime prosecution. But he said that Martin’s “premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.”

Absolutely, sir. We’ll continue that dialogue and confront those issues and tensions like there’s no tomorrow. For example, do not pound the head of someone who’s carrying a loaded weapon.

And lose the fascination with gangsta “culture”. Not healthy.

I disagree with the caption. I don’t thank Zimmerman for getting into that situation. He’s not liable, criminally or civilly, but he’s not entirely blameless.

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