Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DOJ Not Bringing Civil Rights Charges in Michael Brown Case

Attorney General Eric Holder (Huffington Post)
After no indictment was handed down in Missouri in the case of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, many people turned to Washington. A hope existed that Attorney General Eric Holder's comments about his own experience with America's police would help guide the Department of Justice toward bringing civil rights charges against Wilson. This was misguided for many reasons.

The most glaring problem with thinking this was a possibility was the case of Trayvon Martin. The circumstances following Martin's death at the hands of overzealous neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman could be seen as more favorable for a civil rights charge, especially considering that Zimmerman was not a police officer.

Eric Holder's Department of Justice, however, did not bring charges against Zimmerman, citing insufficient evidence. If the DOJ decided not to pursue a case against Zimmerman, there was little doubt that Wilson's case would be any different.

Looking even beyond the homicides of young black men in America, Eric Holder has promoted extrajudicial killings overseas of American citizens. His Department of Justice advocated for the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric living in Yemen who was accused of aiding terrorism against the United States. Moves like that erode our protections as citizens against overzealous American state actors, the very same charge levied by many towards Darren Wilson.

Eric Holder is not a savior, in fact his time as Attorney General has been marred by statements and actions that diminish American justice rather than uphold and strengthen it. Holder leads the United States Department of Justice, the very embodiment of the system that many rail against during protests against police brutality. Holder may be able to verbalize the concerns many in America have about our country's policing, but that does not mean he will act against it.


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