In August, Attorney General Holder made a flying visit to Ferguson, MO. It was a busy visit filled with hugs for MO Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, telling students and adults about his own racial profiling adventures, penning an Op-Ed for St. Louis Today, ordering two federal investigations, and doing his very best to “ease” tensions for Ferguson. And then he skedaddled back to Washington, DC.
After such a wonderful in-depth look at the issues of Ferguson, MO, one would think that Holder waived his magic wand and Ferguson is truly healing! Not. So. Fast.
In the last 10 days alone there have been several riots, a Beauty Town business vandalized, QuikTrip announced they will not rebuild in Ferguson, Kmart will close in Ferguson, the press is shut out of community meetings, and the grand jury is still deliberating.
Would you call that healing? I wouldn’t.
The Ferguson police department is under fire, figuratively and literally, for daring to support one of their own. Holder’s “unbiased” DOJ informs the Ferguson Police that wearing wrist bands on duty in support of Officer Darren Wilson is a big fat No No, and Police Chief Thomas Jackson issues a heartfelt apology:
“I want to say this to the Brown family. No one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you’re feeling,” he said, facing the camera and standing in front of an American flag. “I am truly sorry for the loss of your son. I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street. The time that it took involved very important work on the part of investigators who were trying to collect evidence and gain a true picture of what happened that day. But it was just too long, and I’m truly sorry for that.”
And now we have a police officer shot early Saturday evening when he confronted burglary suspects outside a Ferguson business. Late last night, another St. Louis police officer, while driving his PERSONAL vehicle (and dressed in civilian clothes) along I70 and Hanley Road, was shot. The identity of the shooter and the other occupants of the vehicle are unknown at this time. Neither officer was fatally wounded, both are expected to quickly recover. Two shootings of St. Louis police officers in less than 12 hours tells me that tensions in the Ferguson, MO area have not eased one bit. So much for the magic that is Holder.
Obama addressed the matter carefully but firmly, saying the young man’s death and the raw emotion that sprang from it had reawakened the country to the fact that “a gulf of mistrust” exists between local residents and law enforcement in too many communities.
“Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement — guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness,” he said.
He said significant racial disparities remain in the enforcement of law, from drug sentencing to applying the death penalty, and that a majority of Americans think the justice system treats people of different races unequally.
With civil rights being touted as Holder’s forte, it is obvious that there was a great deal riding on how Holder handles Ferguson. According to Richard Serrano of the LA Times:
“He believes maybe showing the flag will help quell the tension,” the official said. “The attorney general has always been about race, and it happens here that the victim is black and the police officer is white. Yet one wonders how much that is playing a part in his extraordinary decision to go ahead with this.”
Another official, also speaking anonymously, said the situation could reach a tipping point where federal criminal charges would be the only way to vindicate Holder’s public comments and show that the federal government is serious.
So, was Holder serious or not? One can surmise that he wasn’t serious enough or didn’t resolve Ferguson to the President’s satisfaction. Or maybe its because Holder continues to ignore Fast and Furious? Who knows? Either way, the end result is that the resignation bus has rolled through Administration once again. As for Obama? Which golf course is he on today?