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Tag Archives: Ferguson

Holder Suggests Police Can Be an “Occupying Force”

Speaking about Ferguson to a largely African American audience at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated police are sometimes an “occupying force” in black neighborhoods.

“Our police officers cannot be, and cannot be seen as, an occupying force disconnected to the communities that they serve,” Holder said.

Holder was speaking about steps the administration is taking to foster greater cooperation between police and minorities. He said he will announce in coming days new initiatives to counter racial profiling.

Nevertheless, he got heckled. His response helped swing the audience back in his corner.

“There will be a tendency on the part of some to condemn what we just saw, but we should not,” he said. “What we saw there was a genuine expression of concern and involvement. And it is through that level of involvement, that level of concern, and I hope a level of perseverance and commitment, that change ultimately will come. And so let me be clear, let me be clear, I ain’t mad atcha.”

Ferguson and Obama’s No-Responsibility America

It’s easy to talk about the can-do American spirit. Everyone thinks of themselves as part of an America where people haul themselves up by their bootstraps, become self-made men and women, succeed despite the odds, and several other cliches.

What is being forgotten, in President Obama’s no-responsibility America, is that these things take really, really hard work, sacrifice, and risk. Obama is doing a splendid job of erasing the basic American spirit and character. He’s telling us, for example . . .

. . . to immigrate the easy way, the illegal way, and not go through the hoops necessary for legal immigration;

. . . that we don’t have to work for our health insurance. It will be provided by the gradually diminishing percentage of the population willing to work, through their tax dollars;

. . . that we don’t have to pay our debts, which are headed toward $18 trillion;

. . . that we can wallow on welfare as long as we please.

And so on.

Today, the message is being delivered again. Instead of a colloquy on how black communities can change so that the violence in their neighborhoods is reduced, Obama has several meetings devoted to the topic of how we can restrain police trying to restore order.

I believe racist policing is a problem. I believe it is next to nothing in comparison to the problem of the degradation of communities where three quarters of the babies are born out of wedlock and boys lack fathers and a cohesive family structure to put them on the right path. Racist policing is not where the president’s focus needs to be.

I empathize with law-abiding African America males who feel fear and whose first instinct is to be ready with the phrase, “I didn’t do anything” when they notice a white police officer looking at them. Who can’t catch a cab because the driver thinks they’re going to murder them.

The solution is not reeducation campaigns for taxi drivers. It has to come from within the black community.

Obama had a chance to lead on this issue. Instead, today, he is talking about what type of weaponry police have, discussing ways to build bridges between the communities and the police, and meeting with “young local and national civil rights leaders.”

I know a good way to build bridges between the police and the people who live on their beats. Give the police more time for their donuts and coffee, and less time making arrests.

National Review’s Rich Lowry Sunday practically caused a Meet the Press panel of Democrats to release the contents of their bowels with a simple, yet obvious statement about Ferguson: “If you look at the most credible evidence, the lessons are really basic: Don’t rob a convenience store, don’t fight a policeman when he stops you and try to take his gun, and when he tells at you to stop with his gun drawn, just stop.”

But that would mean taking responsibility for one’s actions.

Obama’s Wrong Message on Ferguson

Reacting to the decision by the grand jury in Ferguson not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, President Obama’s message last night was clear: It’s understandable to be angry, but please don’t break anything.

“There are Americans who agree with (the decision), and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry,” Obama said. “It’s an understandable reaction.”

What, exactly, in the view of someone who is the president of the United States, should be understandable about protests in a case where there was so little incriminating evidence, not only was the subject in question innocent, but he couldn’t even be charged?

For Obama, the problem here is that African Americans don’t trust the police. He said:

So those should be the lessons that we draw from these tragic events. We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America. We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. I’ve witnessed that in my own life. And to deny that progress I think is to deny America’s capacity for change.

But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up. Separating that from this particular decision, there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in discriminatory fashion. I don’t think that’s the norm. I don’t think that’s true for the majority of communities or the vast majority of law enforcement officials. But these are real issues. And we have to lift them up and not deny them or try to tamp them down. What we need to do is to understand them and figure out how do we make more progress. And that can be done . . .

And I am confident that if we focus our attention on the problem and we look at what has happened in communities around the country effectively, then we can make progress not just in Ferguson, but in a lot of other cities and communities around the country.

The problem?

Actually, here is the problem: A young man, Michael Brown, who might have made a success out of himself, instead one August evening decided to rob a store and then assault Officer Darren Wilson, battering hm in the head, possibly with the intent to kill him. He then lost his life because of his own actions.

That’s the problem.

What’s more, a young policeman’s life and career have been damaged or ruined in irreparable ways.

I have no doubt that what Obama says is true, that there is mistrust of white police in black communities, and that sometimes the law is applied in a discriminatory fashion. Such behavior must always be prevented and, when a crime and the evidence for it exists, prosecuted. But police malfeasance is, as Obama himself states, a non-issue for “the vast majority of law enforcement officials.”

The problem is the culture that exists in too much of the black community. Obama, as the nation’s first black president, should be leading a discussion about what to do to effect change within the black community, not throwing in with the racial grievance crowd that blames police for doing their jobs.

There was not one mention in his remarks of the tragedy that there is so much crime where African Americans live. Where children have to dodge gunfire and the elderly take risks with a walk to the drug store. If there were there less crime in the communities, tensions with police, white or black, would surely decline.

More than anything, Obama should be pursuing economic policies that would abet such change. But unfortunately he doesn’t believe in them.

Did Holder Cause the National Guard to be Kept From Ferguson?

The Republican Lieutenant governor of Missouri today said he believes the state’s Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, did not deploy National Guard troops to Ferguson to prevent the outbreak of violence because of pressure from the Obama administration to keep them away.

“Here’s my question that the governor must answer,” Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said today. “Is the reason that the national guard was not in there is because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out?”

Kinder noted that the Guard had been sent to other locations in the region. “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in (to Ferguson) to stop this, before it started,” he said.

Indeed, there were reports Holder was not happy with Nixon’s efforts to display force and use the National Guard. From an article Friday in the Washington Post:

Holder also expressed concerns privately about Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision this week to declare a state of emergency at a news conference and activate the National Guard . . .

A top aide to Holder called the governor’s office earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration,” according to a Justice Department official.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles last night said that the National Guard had not been deployed to Ferguson before – and even well after – violence erupted in the city, and that he could not even reach officials to get help. The failure to deploy the Guard appears in his view to have allowed violence to spiral out of control.

The desperate mayor spoke with a local news outlet:

They were deployed at other parts of the St. Louis region . . . Why were they not in (Ferguson) at the first sign of an overturned police car or a smashed police car window with a show of course that would have stopped this?

I know I’ve been on the phone in contact with the County Executive’s Office. I know he has requested. I am requesting. I’ve requested the National Guard troops to come out from the command post to help restore order along the business district. We have not seen that.

It’s my understanding that the commanders out on the street have requested this, and those calls have gone unheeded at this point . . . We need to have the governor step up, give us the resources that he’s promised from the beginning. He stated he would have a strong response, that the resources necessary would be provided. They have not been provided so far. We need that right now.

Here are videos of Kinder and Knowles.

Former Senior Obama Aide: Ferguson a License to Kill Blacks

Joshua DuBois, who headed the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the four years of President Obama’s first term, thinks Ferguson shows its open season on African Americans.

“It feels like we’ve given license, that a person is intimidated by a black person in this country, you can pull out your gun and shoot them,” he said.

This should give you an idea where people’s heads are at in the White House.

Obama Will Be Just 300 Miles From Ferguson Tuesday

That would be Chicago.

President Obama plans to travel to Chicago tomorrow afternoon, putting him just 300 miles, or about an hour’s flight, from Ferguson, Missouri.

The previously scheduled trip lands him in a bit of a spot.

Obama, who is set to depart the White House at 1:45 pm ET, may come under pressure to visit Ferguson to calm any unrest resulting from the grand jury’s decision in the case against Officer Darren Wilson, either by stopping off first in the city or traveling there following his events in Chicago, both of which are related to his immigration order.

The prospect of Obama making a statement in Washington and then bypassing Ferguson seems politically unpalatable. Ignoring the city after hanging out so close also might not be a practical approach, particularly given recent criticism of the president’s seeming inattentiveness to his duties.

Obama Finally Makes a Clear Call for Calm in Ferguson

With violence escalating on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the police shooting of a black youth, Michael Brown, President Obama finally got serious about calling for calm in the city, delivering a clear, live statement – as opposed to the equivocal, written one he issued earlier in the week – that actually included specific calls for order:

I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country, as police have clashed with people protesting . . . There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting . . .  Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson . . .

Make no mistake, Obama continued to inappropriately suggest he is preliminarily siding with supporters of Brown in the controversy:

We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances.  He was 18 years old.  His family will never hold Michael in their arms again.

Well, they won’t, but if he was, as police claim, trying to seize an officer’s gun and presumably kill him, we might be a little less sad about it. If he was shot in cold blood, though, that’s another matter. The point is, Obama doesn’t know what happened and is jumping to conclusions.

Obama emphasized again and again that officials need to “determine exactly what happened, and to see that justice is done,” which is true, although you can’t do justice to a dead man, so this again reveals Obama’s bias.

Nevertheless, Obama exhibited more evenhandedness and behaved a bit more presidentially than in his earlier statement:

I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened.  There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred.  There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward.  That’s part of our democracy.

But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family.  We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest.

The statement also criticized local law enforcement officials for acting too aggressively and throwing even peaceful protestors, as well as journalists, in jail.

As part of his statement, Obama announced that the U.S. military mission to remove Yazidis trapped by ISIL terrorists on a mountain in Iraq was succeeding, and that operations were winding down:

Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.

Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain. The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.

And then, he went golfing.

The president is playing again today at the Vineyard Golf Club with ValJar cousin Cyrus Walker, former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and World Bank President Jim Kim.

It’s outing #4 of the vacation, #31 of the year, and #188 of the presidency.