The agreements impose years-long compliance review regimes, implementation deadlines, and regular reviews by federal bureaucrats. This makes local police directly answerable to the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ.
“The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has provided oversight and recommendations for improvement of police services in a number of cities with consent decrees. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce discrimination in law enforcement and it needs to be beefed up and increased to cover as many of the 18,000-plus local law enforcement jurisdictions.”
“The Obama administration has been pursuing the federal takeover of local police right under Congress’ nose — and Republicans in Congress were apparently unaware it was happening.”
That was United Nations Rapporteur Maina Kai on July 27, a representative of the U.N. Human Rights Council, who on the tail-end of touring the U.S., endorsed a little-known and yet highly controversial practice by the Justice Department to effect a federal takeover of local police and corrections departments.
The consent decrees are already being implemented in Newark, New Jersey; Miami, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Ferguson, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and other municipalities.
“The federal court orders are designed to undo Rudy Giuliani-style policing tactics that were effective at reducing crime in big cities in the 1990s and 2000s.”
Here’s how it works: the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice files a lawsuit in federal court against a city, county, or state, alleging constitutional and civil rights violations by the police or at a corrections facility. It is done under 42 U.S.C. § 14141, a section of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, granting the attorney general the power to prosecute law enforcement misconduct. The municipality then simply agrees to the judicial finding — without contest — and the result is a wide-reaching federal court order that imposes onerous regulations on local police.
The federal court orders are designed to undo Rudy Giuliani-style policing tactics that were effective at reducing crime in big cities in the 1990s and 2000s.
In short, the much-feared nationalization of local police departments is already being initiated by the Obama administration’s Justice Department. And somehow nobody noticed. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama’s Statement on the Shooting in South Carolina
REWIND: June 18, 2015: Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, I spoke with, and Vice President Biden spoke with, Mayor Joe Riley and other leaders of Charleston to express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night.
“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.“
Michelle and I know several members of Emanuel AME Church. We knew their pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night. And to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families, and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel.
Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy….
I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. Read the rest of this entry »
(AP) — A white former North Charleston police officer was indicted on a murder charge Monday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who was running away from the officer after a traffic stop.
The shooting April 4 was captured on video by a bystander and showed officer Michael Slager firing eight times as 50-year-old Walter Scott ran away. The shooting rekindled an ongoing national…(read more)
The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing. The main victims of growing violence will be the inner-city poor
Heather Mac Donald writes: The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night.
Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.
“President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, before he stepped down last month, embraced the conceit that law enforcement in black communities is infected by bias.”
Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.
“Contrary to the claims of the ‘black lives matter’ movement, no government policy in the past quarter century has done more for urban reclamation than proactive policing. Data-driven enforcement, in conjunction with stricter penalties for criminals and ‘broken windows’ policing has saved thousands of black lives, brought lawful commerce and jobs to once drug-infested neighborhoods and allowed millions to go about their daily lives without fear.”
Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.
“Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.”
By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.
“Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today.”
The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months. Read the rest of this entry »
April 29, 2015 – Ferguson, Missouri (CNN)—At least three people were shot in separate incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, on late Tuesday and early Wednesday as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in support of protests in Baltimore, a city spokesman said.
Two people were shot in the neck and another was shot in the leg, spokesman Jeff Small said. There is a suspect in custody in the latter case: a 20-year-old male from St. Louis County.
The two victims shot in the neck were hospitalized, Small said.
“Police are having a difficult time investigating because of the rocks being thrown at them,” he said. “At this point police are not sure if the (shootings are) linked to the protest or not.”
St. Louis Alderman Antonio French posted video on his Twitter account. Multiple gunshots can be heard as people flee in panic.
[VIDEO] Patrick Brennan: Baltimore’s Mayor Says She Intend to to Give Protesters ‘Space’ to ‘Destroy. But What Happened Anyway?Posted: April 27, 2015
At The Corner, Patrick Brennan writes: Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says that she didn’t mean, in some comments she delivered Sunday, that the protesters/rioters in Baltimore had been intentionally given “space” to “destroy” property. “The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence,” a spokesman says, a day after she made the comments. (A raft of outlets reported them this morning in the way she says she didn’t mean them.)
Whatever exactly she meant, it certainly seems that the Baltimore police took a hands-off approach to the unrest over the weekend, allowing the crowds to grow violent and unruly while doing little in response.
This is your mayor on Xanax.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) April 27, 2015
Presumably this is motivated in part by the sense that the protesters had some legitimate grievance and in part because it’s supposed to work, to help defuse the situation. Well, does it? Read the rest of this entry »
FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – Police are involved in two stand-offs in north St. Louis County.
Ferguson police are involved in a standoff after responding to report of a shooting in Ferguson. A person has barricaded themselves into a home in the suspects 400 block of Warford. Investigators are unable to check on the possible shooting victim until they deal with the person blocking them from entry. Police have blocked off area streets.
An unknown number of Ferguson protesters have made their way to the scene. Read the rest of this entry »
I Actually Went to Starbucks and Asked About Racial Issues — Here’s What Happened
Nothing was solved.
Katherine Timpf writes: Since Starbucks launched its “Race Together” initiative — encouraging customers to have conversations about racial issues with its employees — there have been a slew of Internet think pieces about what’s right or wrong about it.
Some people said it was an awkward and a dumb idea. Other people said those people were racists. So — I decided to go out and see for myself what it would be like if I actually did what Starbucks was telling its customers to do. Read the rest of this entry »
The DOJ was determined to make a big deal out of the various misdeeds of the Department. In so doing, it set back race relations in the United States by sending out the unmistakable message that while the DOJ could not get Wilson, it could surely get the city for which he had worked.
Richard A. Epstein writes: 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. The report recommended that the case against him be closed. The second DOJ report contained a scathing indictment of the sad state of affairs within the entire criminal justice system of Ferguson. The combined effect of these two reports is likely to make matters worse in Ferguson by combining the back-handed exoneration of Darren Wilson with the unstinting condemnation of the City of Ferguson.
“The two DOJ reports do not cohere. The first shows that Wilson’s use of force against Michael Brown was fully justified. The second uses that incident to launch a scathing attack against Ferguson, leading to the resignation of its key officials for conduct that looks on balance to be no better or worse than that in other cities around the country.”
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 serious consequence of the second high-profile report is to keep alive the image that racial injustice is alive and well in the United States. What the report fails to understand is that it is as dangerous to exaggerate the risk of racial injustice as it is to ignore it.”
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.
“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.”
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. Read the rest of this entry »
The police and prosecutors have scheduled a news conference later Sunday to announce the arrest
FERGUSON, Mo. — The St. Louis County police have arrested a suspect in connection with the shooting of two police officers outside of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday morning, a police spokesman said Sunday.
The police and prosecutors have scheduled a news conference later Sunday to announce the arrest.
The two officers — one from the county police and the other from the nearby Webster Groves department — were standing shoulder to shoulder as part of a protective line facing demonstrators across the street. At least three gunshots came from a distance behind the demonstrators, as much as 125 yards away, the authorities said.
The demonstration followed an announcement that the police chief in Ferguson, Thomas Jackson, was resigning, the latest senior city administrator to step down after a Justice Department report accused the city of using its municipal court and police force as moneymaking tools that routinely violated constitutional rights and disproportionately targeted blacks. The municipal judge and city manager, as well as the top court clerk and two police supervisors, have stepped down in the wake of the report’s release last week. Read the rest of this entry »
(CNN) Greg Botelho reports: With tensions running high after the shooting of two officers in Ferguson, Missouri, state and county police are once again taking over protest security in the St. Louis suburb.
St. Louis County Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol will “assume command of the security detail regarding protests” at 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET), St. Louis County Police said in a statement.
“We could have buried two police officers,” Belmar told reporters. “… I feel very confident that whoeverdid this … came there for whatever nefarious reason that it was.”
— St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar
Ferguson Police will remain responsible for routine policing services in the city, the statement said.
The takeover comes less than a day after two police officers standing guard outside Ferguson police headquarters were shot in what St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar called an “ambush,” spurring a manhunt for those responsible for targeting the line of officers.
“The most important thing is the safety of the protesters, so we’re meeting to organize what tonight would look like, if we’re coming out, because we know that tensions are high within the Police Department after the incident that occurred last night, so we just want to make sure that people are safe.”
— Kayla Reed of the Organization for Black Struggle
“We could have buried two police officers,” Belmar told reporters. “… I feel very confident that whoever did this … came there for whatever nefarious reason that it was.”
This isn’t the first time that county police and state troopers have stepped in to handle protest security.
“It’s a very tense situation, as you can well imagine. In my communications as a union official with police commanders, I’ve been assured that tactics will be different tonight. I assume that means not only more officers, but a wider perimeter, with coverage, perhaps, of these blind spots from which the shots were fired last night.”
— St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar
When clashes between police and protesters boiled over last year, Missouri’s governor declared a state of emergency and tapped the State Highway Patrol to take over. After that emergency declaration expired in December, Ferguson Police resumed command of protest security. Officers from other agencies have continued to provide backup at larger protests.
Protest organizers are meeting to determine whether they’ll demonstrate again Thursday night.
“The most important thing is the safety of the protesters, so we’re meeting to organize what tonight would look like, if we’re coming out, because we know that tensions are high within the Police Department after the incident that occurred last night, so we just want to make sure that people are safe,” said Kayla Reed of the Organization for Black Struggle.
If protesters return, they’ll see a different security situation on the streets, said Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association. Read the rest of this entry »
Beginning with the unrest after the August 2014 shooting of Micheal Brown and that which followed the grand jury verdict in favor of Officer Darren Wilson, as well as the fervor maintained by national hucksters intent on keeping racial tensions aflame, gun sales in Missouri are through the roof.
[Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins]
Brown was shot on August 9 ,and within days gun sales began a sharp rise. On August 13 Breitbart News reported that citizens in and around St. Louis were buying up the firearms they needed to protect their lives and property. Read the rest of this entry »
Protesters were gathering outside the station after the resignation of Police Chief Thomas Jackson
(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports two police officers have been shot outside the Ferguson Police Department.
The shots were fired early Thursday as police and protesters gathered outside the station after the resignation of police Chief Thomas Jackson on Wednesday.
Ferguson Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff tells the newspaper that he didn’t think either officer was from his department. Eickhoff says he doesn’t know the extent of the officers’ injuries.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) March 12, 2015
Jackson was the sixth employee to resign or be fired after a Justice Department report cleared white former officer Darren Wilson of civil rights charges in the shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, but found a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias in the city police department…
Photo of Attorney General delivering apology to Darren Wilson
From The Washington Post:
Here is a key part of the conclusion of DOJ’s report:
As discussed above, Darren Wilson has stated his intent in shooting Michael Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never assaulted Wilson at the SUV, never attempted to gain control of Wilson’s gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive. Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat. Even if Wilson was mistaken in his interpretation of Brown’s conduct, the fact that others interpreted that conduct the same way as Wilson precludes a determination that he acted with a bad purpose to disobey the law. (p. 86).
Audio Exclusive: Eric Holder’s Apology to Officer Wilson
Hopefully this report will put to rest some of the outlandish claims that have been made about Michael Brown’s death. For example, the report convincingly rebuts the “hands up, don’t shoot” account:
[T]here are no witnesses who could testify credibly that Wilson shot Brown while Brown was clearly attempting to surrender. The accounts of the witnesses who have claimed that Brown raised his hands above his head to surrender and said “I don’t have a gun,” or “okay, okay, okay” are inconsistent with the physical evidence or can be challenged in other material ways, and thus cannot be relied upon to form the foundation of a federal prosecution. Read the rest of this entry »
The attorney general seems intent on taking one more jab at the police before leaving the Justice Department
Jason L. Riley writes: When all was said and done, the events that unfolded in Ferguson, Mo., last summer were not extraordinary but rather all too familiar. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown, a black robbery suspect, resisted arrest, attacked a police officer and was shot dead. We’ve seen this movie many times before. But what might have prompted a helpful discussion about high crime rates in black communities has instead prompted a dishonest debate over police behavior.
“…the Justice Department seems to have come to the same conclusion as the Ferguson grand jury and found no grounds for a criminal prosecution of Mr. Wilson. Mr. Holder might now be trying to justify his bigfooting by suing the city, but there is probably no basis for that, either. Hence, the leak to the media that a civil lawsuit may be in the works.”
Professional agitators in the civil-rights community push false narratives to stay relevant, but we should expect more from the Justice Department. Instead, we have Attorney General Eric Holder channeling Al Sharpton . Last week Mr. Holder said that he will soon announce the results of his Ferguson investigation. CNN, citing “sources,” reported that Darren Wilson, the police officer involved in the shooting, is unlikely to be charged but that Justice is preparing to sue the Ferguson police department “over a pattern of racially discriminatory tactics used by police officers, if the police department does not agree to make changes on its own.”
“This is about expanding federal power in the police departments. 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.”
— Hans von Spakovsky, former Justice Department attorney
After months of looking into the incident, the Justice Department seems to have come to the same conclusion as the Ferguson grand jury and found no grounds for a criminal prosecution of Mr. Wilson. Mr. Holder might now be trying to justify his bigfooting by suing the city, but there is probably no basis for that, either. Hence, the leak to the media that a civil lawsuit may be in the works. The leak was an egregious breach of protocol and, in effect, a threat. We’ve seen this movie before, too.
[Check out Jason Riley’s book “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” at Amazon]
In 1994, Congress passed a bill that made unlawful “the pattern or practice” of conduct by police “that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Since the law’s inception, the Justice Department has taken action against more than 50 state and local police departments, and nearly all have opted to settle rather than litigate. Investigations often come at the urging of groups like the NAACP and ACLU. Read the rest of this entry »
Hands Down, You’re Wrong
Jim Treacher writes: The Obama Way: Say what you think people want to hear, and keep saying it until they leave you alone. Then do whatever you were going to do anyway.
Or, don’t do whatever you weren’t going to do anyway. Chuck Ross reports:
The Justice Department is preparing to clear Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson of violating the civil rights of Michael Brown… Read the rest of this entry »
Politicians benefit from American Tribal Warfare
Glen Reynolds writes: “What if I told you,” asks a Matrix-themed photo-meme that has been circulating on Facebook, “that you can be against cops murdering citizens and citizens murdering cops at the same time?”
“Tribalism is the default state of humanity: The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it’s wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they’re right, just because they’re other.”
Judging by the past few weeks, this really is a Matrix-level revelation, obvious as it may seem. We have Americans protesting because of police shootings, and we have police turning their backs on New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio over lack of support after two police were assassinated by Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, a gunman from Baltimore who said he was seeking revenge for the choking death of cigarette-tax evader Eric Garner.
“In a healthy civil society, people can deal with others without worrying about tribalism, confident that disputes will be settled by neutral and reasonably fair procedures overseen by neutral and fair people.”
And, as blogger Eric Raymond notes, the response has been divided: “Because humans are excessively tribal, it’s difficult now to call for justice against Eric Garner’s murderers without being lumped in with the ‘wrong side.’ Nor will Garner’s partisans, on the whole, have any truck with people who aren’t interested in poisonously racializing the circumstances of his death.”
“In a tribalized society, what matters is what tribe you belong to, and who is on top at the moment.”
This is a tragedy, but not a surprise. Tribalism is the default state of humanity: The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it’s wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they’re right, just because they’re other.
[Glenn Reynolds‘ book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself“ is available at Amazon]
Societies that give in to the temptations of tribalism — which are always present — wind up spending a lot of their energy on internal strife, and are prone to disintegrate into spectacular factionalism and infighting, often to the point of self-destruction. Read the rest of this entry »
Andrew C. McCarthy writes: Several news organizations have reported that a New York grand jury in Staten Island has voted against indicting Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City police officer, in the choking death of Eric Garner. The decision is to be announced officially on Thursday. Clearly, this No True Bill is more difficult to justify than the St. Louis grand jury’s vote against filing homicide charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Officer Pantaleo, who is white, is being investigated for killing Mr. Garner, a 43-year-old black man who was physically imposing but unarmed, and who was resisting arrest (for a nonviolent crime, the illegal sale of untaxed cigarettes) but not overtly threatening the safety of the police. As National Review Online reported on Wednesday, the confrontation between Garner and the police was captured on videotape.
NYPD guidelines ban a form of chokehold. Contrary to some reporting, however, even that technique is not illegal per se. In fact, it used to be part of police training before concerns about accidental death convinced the NYPD to prohibit its use. Much of the coverage I have heard assumes that the chokehold Pantaleo applied is one that the guidelines ban (and, so the narrative goes, is illegal). This is hotly disputed by some police advocates, who claim that what Pantaleo did was more in the nature of a headlock or a wrestler’s swift takedown. Obviously, we do not yet know what, if any, testimony the grand jury heard on this point.
In any event, others counter that Garner could be heard repeatedly telling the police he could not breathe. While this actually undercuts the claim that a banned chokehold was used (since, if it had been, Garner would have had great difficulty speaking so audibly), Garner’s pleas suggest that the police used excessive force — a problem that makes the chokehold debate nearly irrelevant. In the absence of any apparent threat to the police, critics forcefully ask, shouldn’t Pantaleo have stopped whatever hold was being applied?
There is no doubt that Pantaleo aggressively handled Garner around the neck and then pressed his head to the ground. Soon after, Garner died. On top of that, the state medical examiner (ME) concluded that a homicide occurred. Sounds cut and dried, especially given that grand juries need merely find probable cause in order to return an indictment. Read the rest of this entry »
From The Corner: Police in Ferguson, Mo., are investigating whether the angry tirade unleashed by Michael Brown’s stepfather just moments after the grand jury’s decision last week rose to the level of illegal incitement of violence.
“We can’t let all that happened in Ferguson and Dellwood and the community die. Everyone who is responsible for taking away people’s property, their livelihoods, their jobs, their businesses — every single one of them needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
— Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson
Following the decision, Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, climbed onto a platform surrounded by protesters to comfort his grieving wife. “Burn this bitch down!” Head then shouted repeatedly, in a video captured by the New York Times. Rioters later looted and burned down over a dozen Ferguson businesses and at least one police car. Read the rest of this entry »
Redacted screenshot I took from the NY Times article (that we won’t link to):
UPDATE: In a related note…