The Ferguson Report: It’s Never About Race


By

Esquire

ferguson-policeThis may not be a reign of terror, but it damn sure is a reign of unaccountable authoritarian power

Dear Ferguson — While clearing out his office, Attorney General Eric Holder found eric holdersomething that belongs to you. If you don’t mind, he’d like to hand you your ass.

Among the findings, reviewed by CNN: from 2012 to 2014, 85% of people subject to vehicle stops by Ferguson police were African-American; 90% of those who received citations were black; and 93% of people arrested were black. This while 67% of the Ferguson population is black. In 88% of the cases in which the Ferguson police reported using force, it was against African-Americans. traffic stopDuring the period 2012-2014 black drivers were twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during traffic stops, but 26% less likely to be found in possession of contraband. Blacks were disproportionately more likely to be cited for minor infractions: 95% of tickets for “manner of walking in roadway,” essentially jaywalking, were against African-Americans. Also, 94% of all “failure to comply” charges were filed against black people.

 I remember thinking, back when Mark Fuhrman helped blow up the O.J. trial, that if you allow racist goons to populate your police force, sooner or later, you’re going to bust somebody who’s rich enough to afford a lawyer to ensure that this practice bites you in a big way. The Fuhrman Reckoning has come to Ferguson. Which ought to surprise approximately nobody.

The investigators found evidence of racist jokes being sent around by Ferguson police and court officials. One November 2008 email read in part that President Barack Obama wouldn’t likely be President for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.” Another joke that made the rounds on Ferguson government email in May 2011 said: “An African American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $3,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said: ‘Crimestoppers.'”

(Before we go on, we should note that this humorous anecdote has a proud history in the polite precincts of the conservative intelligentsia. Here, for example, we see it in the comedy stylings of Bill “Sportin’ Life” Bennett.)

Let’s leave aside for a moment the obvious racial profiling inherent in these findings, the statistics on traffic-stop searches, for example. Imagine, for a moment, your daily life. jaywalkingDo you jaywalk? Do you walk in the street? Ever? Imagine that, two or three times a week, an armed police officer decides to involve himself in your life just because you jaywalk, or because you’re walking in the street. Imagine this happening, over and over again, for a decade. Or two. Or five. Imagine that the simple act of asking, “What’s the problem, officer?” is 94 percent more likely to wind up with you in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car. Imagine that the simple act of then asking, “Can you tell me what the problem is, officer?” is 88 percent more likely to get your head cracked, or worse? Imagine this happening in front of your kids, three or four times. Imagine this happening in front of your mother, your preacher, your girlfriend, your wife. Is this a life? Are you free? This may not be a reign of terror, but it damn sure is a reign of unaccountable authoritarian power.

Of course, there are the voices explaining that the facts in the Justice Department’s report are not About Race, because it’s never About Race.

“This is not the full report, and we need to be careful not to rush to judgment as we saw

 Jeff Roorda

Jeff Roorda

in August,” said Jeff Roorda, a former Missouri state representative and a spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers Association. “We owe it, not just to law enforcement, but to Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner to figure out what’s really going on here so it can be addressed,” he said, referring to others killed by police officers in Cleveland and New York. “Reaching conclusions from statistics about traffic stops I don’t think draws the whole picture.”

Yeah, that’s the same Roorda who became famous as Darren Wilson’s most conspicuous knight errant after Wilson shot Michael Brown to death last summer. He’s a real sweetheart. And he has his own problems right now. But he’s not alone. Over at Breitbart’s Mausoleum For Sad Unemployables, they got a quote off Fox News out of extremely credible Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

Eric Holder is using traffic stops, Megyn, simply because he can exploit that data. That’s the first thing that race hustlers jump to, is looking at traffic stops to make some sort of determination that some sort of racial impropriety’s going on here. If you’re a cop and you’re working in an area that is predominantly black, most of your field interview stops, most of your police contacts, your calls for service, and most of your traffic stops are going to involve black individuals. Officers don’t target, they don’t racially profile, they criminally profile.”

And the Wall Street Journal‘s Jason Riley stops by to explain that Holder wants to hamstring honest cops who are just trying to do the right thing, and maybe make Al Sharpton some money, and to placate the angry black people of the NAACP who can’t understand that black people who encounter Ferguson’s men in blue are 88 percent more likely to deserve to be roughed up. He calls on an expert on how things are never About Race for some learned counsel.

“This is about expanding federal power in the police departments,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department attorney, in an interview. “The lawyers at Justice believe they are the ones who should be promulgating national standards of how cops should behave. And police departments are so afraid of bad publicity that they agree to settle the case with all kinds of rules that Justice wants to impose.”

Mr. von Spakovsky’s usual field of expertise in how things are never About Race concerns his expertise in developing voter-suppression techniques to suit the new Jim Crow in conjunction with John Roberts’ declaration of the Day Of Jubilee. Maybe Hans is branching out into criminal justice. In any case, “former Justice Department attorney” hardly suffices as a description of his career in the burgeoning field of how things are never About Race.

And, inevitably, there is the longtime white-supremacist journal, National Review, the pioneer in explaining how things are never About Race, not even racism.

The New York Times also notes that black drivers in Ferguson were twice as likely to be searched, even though searches of white drivers were more likely to turn up contraband. Again, such a statistic is meaningless unless one knows the underlying rate at which black and white drivers had outstanding warrants – which will trigger a search – and what their behavior was upon being stopped.

Black people are basically de facto criminals, and the police are simply doing the best they can. And, dammit, that joke about abortions being Crimestoppers is funny, amirite?

right leaning mediaThere is a growing industry in explaining to America how nothing ever is About Race. People get wealthy doing it. People get famous doing it. There are entire news channels and publications dedicating a great deal of time and effort in proving the case that it’s never About Race. And, somewhere in the country, someone is crossing against the light, and the odds that this person will wind up dead on the street are not anywhere near equal. If that’s not About Race, then it’s about an ungovernable country.

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An urgent appeal


A US Senate select committee on intelligence today, 12-09-2014 released its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.  Miscellany101 has talked extensively about torture being implemented by America and becoming a form of policy and the report lays it out in startling detail, hereTorture-on-Trial-Waterboard

If you don’t want to read it, the appeal I’d like to make is that you head over to this site and sign the petition that asks the US Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the program carried out by the CIA and all those responsible for it in government and prosecute them under appropriate, relevant and prevailing law.  America must take full responsibility for its role in breaking international law during the debacle that became known as Operation Iraqi Freedom and like countries that have preceded us one way to do that is to bring those within our borders to justice.

A good ruling-Hutareeites go free


In order as shown: Tina Mae Stone, Joshua Matt...

In order as shown: Tina Mae Stone, Joshua Matthew Stone, David Brian Stone Sr., David Brian Stone Jr., Thomas William Piatek, Michael David Meeks, Kristopher T. Sickles, Joshua Clough, Jacob J. Ward (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I railed against these folks in a post here where I said they were terrorists and should be charged with terrorism.  Instead the federal government charged them with “sedition” and earlier this week all but lost that case.  I agree with the ruling insofar as it apply universally to all who come before U.S. district  judge Victoria Roberts.

Let’s begin with who are the Hutaree militia and what were they charged with.  They call themselves “Christian warriors”….the equivalent of Muslim “jihadists” but without all the baggage that goes along with the term jihadists.  They were charged with seditious conspiracy against the government, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. The indictment said that the Hutaree planned to attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession for the officer or officers they planned to kill, using explosively formed penetrator improvised explosive devices (which under federal law are considered “weapons of mass destruction).  It’s important to note informants were instrumental in bringing the charges against the group…much like what has happened with so many jihadists inspired plots we’ve seen throughout the last decade.

Earlier this week, judge Roberts, a Clinton appointee to the bench by the way, ruled against the government, dismissing the sedition charges, i.e. conspiring to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the U.S. and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. Other weapons crimes tied to the alleged conspiracies also were dismissed.  Judge Roberts said, ‘statements and exercises do not evince a concrete agreement to forcibly resist the authority of the United States government,…(David Stone’s) diatribes evince nothing more than his own hatred for — perhaps even desire to fight or kill — law enforcement; this is not the same as seditious conspiracy.’  Roberts took the concept of freedom of speech to the very limits of the law and concluded that while what the defendants said was horrible, scary, frightening, absent any defined and definite action to do what they said they wanted to do, they had the right to that speech and  opinion. (You can read more about the acquittals here)  In today’s America that’s an extraordinary position to take, considering the slightest innuendo is enough to get you locked up for life, depending upon your political, religious and/or racial inclinations.  If you looked at the way the trial was conducted it follows so closely with all the other federal prosecutions of people related to terrorism offenses but with a far different outcome.  I assert the difference was this judge, Victoria Roberts got it right; that inspite of the highly inflammable accusations and statements made, free speech is what one is entitled too as long as there is no accompanying illegal action that results from that speech.  It may be a narrow line, but it seems Roberts walked across it successfully when issuing her ruling. I wish more judges had the constitutional fortitude to give such a ruling as Roberts.

Finally a dig at the Tea Party, birthers and  political conservatives.  When Janet Napolitano’s Homeland Security agency first came out with the warning of right wing extremism’s threat to the homeland, those groups who hate Obama came out to vehemently oppose even the idea that some people from their side of the spectrum could, would even do the things that were mentioned in the reports of three years or so ago.  It was simply inconceivable to them that violence and terror could come from any but the halls of Islamic extremism and treachery and any and every conviction along those lines served to underscore their belief.  They also used the birther notion that President Obama was some sort of illegal alien with an Islamic agenda to drive home the points that the Nation was under attack.  Indeed, Hutaree members had some rather strange notions along those lines as well.  The point man for the government’s case against the Hutaree was Eric Holder much maligned too for his suggestions early on that prosecutions of terror related cases should be done by the federal government in federal courts on American soil and not by military tribunes because in America that’s simply what we do.  That very suggestions was enough to also force some to question the administration’s concern for the safety of the Homeland or it’s jaundiced view , as they claim, towards federal prosecution of those who might otherwise be regular, normal American citizens.  In this atmosphere steps judge Roberts, above,  appointed to the bench by a liberal president Bill Clinton who is  almost as despised as Obama. Ms Roberts  went against an equally “liberal” administration headed by a Constitutional lawyer in Barack Obama, with a ruling that was, one could say, strictly constitutionalist.  Kudos to judge Victoria Roberts. I hope others on federal benches across America have the courage to apply the law  as she has  without giving in to fear.