At Senator Jeff Sessions’ hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee, Cory Booker—a sitting Senator who works with Sessions—declared that:
“I want an Attorney General who is committed to supporting law enforcement and securing law and order. But that is not enough.”
People who heard Booker’s statement likely didn’t notice it, but his idea of how we must do more is to root out racism in the nation’s police. He went on to say this, of Senator Sessions:
His record indicates that at a time when even the FBI director is speaking out about implicit racial bias in policing and the need to address it; at a time when the last two Attorneys General have taken steps to fix our broken criminal justice system; and at a time when the Justice Department he would lead has uncovered systemic abuses in police departments all over the United States including Ferguson, including Newark; Senator Sessions would not continue to lead urgently needed change.
The emphasis is mine. What did Cory Booker mean by those phrases?
Obama DOJ neutering the police
Here’s the practice Cory Booker was referring to, about which Sessions expressed qualms:
From a December, 2014 NY Post op-ed, co-authored by John Fund: [then-Attorney General] Holder “falsely argues the police ‘subconsciously’ discriminate through the use of ‘disproportionate’ means such as traffic stops. It has forced 15 cities into consent decrees to end such practices, for which it has almost no evidence.”
In 2012, the Department of Justice ordered Seattle to water down its use-of-force rules and discipline police engaging in so-called implicit, or unconscious bias. “Justice claimed that ‘Biased policing is not primarily about the ill-intentioned officer but rather the officer who engages in discriminatory practices subconsciously,’ adding that even a well-meaning cop can violate the civil rights of black suspects by operating ‘on implicit biases that impact that officer’s behavior or perceptions, wrote Fund.’”
Seattle police officers sued the DOJ, charging that “The new policies have led to ‘hesitation and paralysis’ in officers being able to carry out their duty to protect the public from criminals,” wrote Fund. “The suit notes that crime rates have climbed in Seattle—with aggravated assaults up 14%, car theft up 44% and murders up 21%.”
More than 20 consent decrees are in force, according to Blue Nation Review. The DOJ itself says it “has investigated dozens of law enforcement agencies nationwide.” [Emphasis added.] And it’s still hard at work. The Wall Street Journal reported on January 13th that the DOJ and Baltimore have agreed on a “227-page proposed consent decree” requiring the Baltimore PD to launch new training programs, “to take steps to ensure that all stops, searches and arrests are constitutional, and to use de-escalation techniques to resolve incidents without force.”
The decree “spells out in detail when officers can use force and how such actions are to be reported to supervisors.” Loretta Lynch, the current AG, was asked at a presser if the Trump Admin could “undo her agency’s work.” She opined that “because the agreement is court-enforceable, it will live on.”
The print version of the WSJ article says Baltimore’s PD would be the 15th with “an active consent decree,” according to the DOJ, “which says it has opened 25 investigations into law-enforcement agencies” during the Obama term. On Friday, after a one-year study, the DOJ released a 165-page report on the alleged use of excessive force and various unconstitutional actions of Chicago’s police.
The report (Executive Summary, page 1) concluded that the failure to deal with the record number of shootings in Chicago is the result of a breach of trust between the Chicago PD and the people it serves, particularly in disadvantaged neighborhoods: “This breach in trust has eroded the CPD’s ability to prevent crime,” it said.
The Washington Post reported that city leaders are prepared to negotiate a consent decree to correct the “police problem.”
This is not the proper mission of the Department of Justice; but it’s the kind of activity Cory Booker thought Sessions should continue, as attorney general. He wasn’t the only one: Rep. Maizie Hirono (D-HI) expressed concern that Sessions would soften the consent decrees already in force. Sessions replied:
It is “a difficult thing for a city to be sued by the Department of Justice and to be told that your police department is systematically failing to serve the people of the state or the city,” he said, adding that police departments “often feel forced to agree to a consent decree just to remove that stigma.”—Talking Points Memo
The DOJ smears police
Consent decrees are only one part of the Obama Justice Department’s systematic assault on police. Attorney General Eric Holder made a mission of telling Black America the nation’s police were racists. Here’s a sampler of his statements on the topic:
TheBlaze July 15, 2013: “We are … mindful of the pain felt by our nation surrounding the tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, last year.”
Los Angeles Times July 16, 2013: from a speech before the NAACP, on what his father taught him: “…what to say and how to conduct myself if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way I thought was unwarranted…I’m sure my father felt certain at the time that my parents’ generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children.”
In speech before Sharpton’s National Action Network April, 2014: “…Forget about me, forget about me. You look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee…. What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”
ABC News July 13, 2014: “There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president…. You know, people talking about taking their country back.…There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some, there’s a racial animus.”
The president made his own, similar comments.
Whatever their mission was, it has exacted a stiff price from the very people they claim to be protecting. Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The War on Cops, has been chronicling the effects of this attack on the nation’s police:
“American police departments have endured relentless attacks from the Obama administration, its media allies and the Black Lives Matter movement alleging that U.S. law enforcement is a racist, deadly threat to African-Americans,” she wrote on July 12, 2016 in the Wall Street Journal. “A handful of disturbing videos depicting police shootings helped galvanize widespread hostility to law-enforcement officers, and cops began backing away from the proactive policing that stops crime but has been repeatedly denounced as racial oppression.”
Crime statistics demonstrate that the actions of Obama’s DOJ and media coverage of police shootings of blacks have caused a surge in crime—primarily in black neighborhoods. Ms. MacDonald calls it “The Ferguson Effect.”
She denied any connection between these White House attacks on police and a string of ambush shootings of cops, but many people would make that connection.
Race-baiting DOJ remarks out of sync with reality
Loretta Lynch, Obama’s last AG, carried on the Holder tradition: she delivered remarks about the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a Charlotte, NC black man, by Officer Brentley Vinson, on September 20, 2016. “Several [officers] surrounded his car,” reported the NY Times, “after one officer saw him with a marijuana cigarette and a handgun.”
Some witnesses said Scott was reading a book in his parked car when police approached him, but it turned out later none of them had actually witnessed the incident, according to the Times. A Colt .380 semiautomatic, fell to the ground after he was shot, District Attorney R. Andrew Murray said, not a book.
On September 21st, the day after the shooting, Lynch delivered a statement. Here are some excerpts:
The Department of Justice is … assessing the incident that led to the death of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte….”
She felt compelled to add this, even though the crime had not been investigated yet:
“These tragic incidents have once again left Americans with feelings of sorrow, anger and uncertainty,” Lynch said. “They have once again highlighted—in the most vivid and painful terms—the real divisions that still persist in this nation between law enforcement and communities of color.”
It’s worth noting that the officer who shot Mr. Scott was also black. The NY Times reported that DA Murray announced, on November 30, 2016 that officer Vinson would not be charged because “Mr. Scott… had a gun in his hands and had not heeded warnings to drop it when he was shot and killed.”
Because of the radioactive atmosphere, Mr. Murray presented “an elaborate presentation of videos, enhanced digital images and other evidence” at a 40-minute news. Here are some of the reasons he gave for that decision, from the Times:
It was later determined that the [.380 semiautomatic] was cocked, with the safety off. Subsequent analysis found Mr. Scott’s DNA on the weapon.
Mr. Murray said the authorities traced the gun and discovered that it had been stolen from a home and then illegally sold to Mr. Scott 18 days before the shooting.
The authorities, Mr. Murray said, also found records at a sporting goods store that suggested Mr. Scott had purchased a magazine and ammunition for a .380 caliber handgun.
“‘Someone with a gun in his hand who does not comply with police commands to drop the gun can be reasonably considered to be an imminent deadly threat to officers,’ Mr. Murray wrote to the State Bureau of Investigation and the Charlotte police, ‘and reaction-time studies show that a person can raise his gun and harm or kill officers before an officer could react to the threat.’”
It’s difficult to imagine why two attorneys general would make these statements and launch such initiatives if they sought to uphold the law—which is their job. It seems the Obama DOJ pursued aims more consistent with a revolutionary council making societal change than with enforcing justice.
The relentless peppering of Black Americans with declarations that racist police are gunning for them, across the Nation, can have only one result: black Americans will be less respectful of the police and more likely to resist police orders. Those who are on the fringes of the law (or of sanity) will be more likely to ambush police. Calling the police racist is a direct attack on our civil society.