Unequal Enforcement of Federal Hate Crime Law


Unequal Enforcement of Federal Hate Crime Law

By Mark Schwendau

A Bible verse came to mind recently while watching the current events on the news:

“By their deeds, you will know them. Does a man gather grapes from thorns or figs from briars?” ~ Matthew 7:16 NVM

The motto of today’s Democrats of America should be, “You will know them by their hypocrisy.”

What this is about is another example of our new “two-tier justice system” or “injustice system,” as some are now tagging it. In 2009 a Federal Hate Crime was enacted, which states, in part:

“The Shepard-Byrd Act makes it a federal crime to willfully cause bodily injury, or attempt to do so using a dangerous weapon, because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin. The Act also extends federal hate crime prohibitions to crimes committed because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person, only where the crime affected interstate or foreign commerce or occurred within federal special maritime and territorial jurisdiction.  The Shepard-Byrd Act is the first statute allowing federal criminal prosecution of hate crimes motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Conceived during the Obama Administration, the act was a response to the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. in 1998. The act expanded the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Sounds good, right?  That sounds like a noble law, right? It might be if it was applied equally, but it is not. Take a look at three examples and those left dead. Ask yourself; Who was/were the real victims here?

Three Minneapolis police officers who were with fellow officer Derek Chauvin when he used excessive force during the arrest of repeat offender George Floyd were recently found guilty in a federal trial of violating Floyd’s civil rights. This verdict came down just two days after another three men were found guilty in a federal hate crimes trial in Georgia for the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. In both of these cases, we are talking about three white men who were present at the death of a black man as they tried to maintain law and order.

The problem with these cases for many Americans of all races and backgrounds is how the media framed what happened to pit one side against another. The media is guilty of propaganda as this is what their repeated narrative is in the George Floyd case.

Floyd was detained by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest over his alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minneapolis grocery store. During the arrest, Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes after he had resisted arrest and as a known felon while three other officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and bystanders, looked on. On video and in photos, Thao is seen engaged in crowd control, while Lane held Floyd’s legs down and Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back.

George Floyd was later pronounced dead at a local hospital sparking protests and riots all over the nation that cost billions of dollars in property damage and many lives. Officer Chauvin would later be found guilty of second-degree murder, among other charges. He was sentenced to 22 and half years in prison. Chauvin also pled guilty in a related federal civil rights case.

The other three officers were charged with willfully depriving Floyd of his liberty without due process. Then, officers Thao and Kueng were separately charged with violating Floyd’s rights to be free from unreasonable seizure when they failed to stop Chauvin’s actions.

The problem with this is the focus was shifted from George Floyd, the career criminal and drug addict, to the four Minneapolis police officers simply trying to get through their day doing their jobs in law enforcement. Some medical doctors even spoke up that the very large Floyd (6’-4” and 300 pounds) might not have died in this police hold had he not been high on drugs and other health-related issues.

A news release by National Public Radio (NPR) stated:

“A full autopsy report on George Floyd, the man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police last month, reveals that he was positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The 20-page report also indicates that Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, although the drugs are not listed as the cause.”

The problem with the news media painting the narrative that led to national riots is they did not speak of George Floyd’s legacy. George Floyd once pointed a loaded handgun at a pregnant woman’s abdomen during a home invasion looking for things to cover his drug habit.

“George Floyd, Black Lives Matter martyr, struggled with drugs, crime” – The Washington Times

So contrast the above scenarios where black individuals are portrayed simply as the victims of whites as they tried to maintain law and order to what happened in Memphis just recently.  Only this time, the victim was a white Kindergarten school teacher who was attacked by a black career criminal.

A black Tennessee man, Cleotha Abston-Henderson, 38, was arrested and charged in the abduction and murder of a white woman, Kindergarten teacher Eliza Fletcher, 34,  as she was jogging in her hometown of Memphis.

Henderson has a lengthy criminal record that dates to 1995 when he was just 11 years old, court documents revealed. Most recently, Henderson was also a suspect in a 2021 kidnapping and sexual assault but wasn’t indicted until after his arrest for the Fletcher incident because his DNA wasn’t tested until now.  Thus far, his charges are for “aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping and unlawful carrying of a weapon” as a felon.

Interestingly, Henderson has been charged with crimes every year from 1995 to 2000, including the time he was sentenced to 24 years in prison for kidnapping a Memphis lawyer. At that time, Henderson kidnapped a man named Kemper Durand at gunpoint and forced him into the trunk of a car. Durand, a criminal defense lawyer, was taken by Henderson to an ATM so he could withdraw cash, but Durand escaped after yelling for help.

In  a victim impact statement, Durand said, “I had been taken from the trunk of my car, where he and his co-defendant had placed me for a number of hours, and made to drive to the Mapco station.”

“It is quite likely that I would have been killed had I not escaped,” he said.

So, where are the federal Hate Crime charges for Cleotha Abston-Henderson?  After all, prosecuting attorney Kemper Durand and teacher Eliza Fletcher were both white. Fair is fair, right?

Any law not applied equally is not worth having on the books!

On top of that, some people matter (regardless of skin color), and some people simply do not.  Some people live to serve others and contribute to society for a fair wage. Some people opt to simply take that which is not theirs in criminal acts.

What struck me about the death of teacher Fletcher was the profound sadness I felt for her immediate family and her students.  Little kids often think as highly of their teachers as their own parents and guardians.  What must these little ones be going through right now?  How will this life-changing event shape them in their future? God only knows, and time will have to tell.

The Eliza Fletcher obituary of “Liza” Fletcher gives us all a glimpse of what Henderson took from us:

Tucker Carlson recently did a news segment on the decline of Memphis, Tennessee.  His take made me think of what Donald Trump might say about the current situation in Memphis, “It has become a third-world sh*t hole!” You may not like Trump for his crude language, but you have to admire him for calling it the way it is and being right more than he is wrong.

Tucker Carlson: This couldn’t be more horrible.”

Police and teachers are classified as public servants. They work to serve others as they simply want to help others.  They are givers, not takers. They are selfless and not selfish. They are not (generally) racist.

There should be no sympathy or compassion shown to career criminals who prey on others as predators, and race is inconsequential to this observation.  

This article is not about race.  It is not about racism.  Anybody who tries to reframe this article as such is a liar working an agenda and not to be trusted.  This is about equal enforcement of laws, in this case, the Federal Hate Crime law.

It is almost like our government is trying to pit us against one another by division of race and right trumping wrong. Think about that.  Think about the three cases above. Ask yourself if the two black men to die would have died if they had not resisted arrest. Ask yourself why Henderson remained a free man, given his criminal history.

Mostly, think about those little school children of Ms. Fletcher’s class who lost a teacher they loved and adored and senselessly lost this month.


Copyright © 2022 by Mark S. Schwendau


Mark S. Schwendau is a retired technology professor who has always had a sideline in news-editorial writing where his byline has been, “Bringing little known news to people who simply want to know the truth.”  He classifies himself as a Christian conservative who God cast to be a realist.  Mark is an award-winning educator who has published seven books and numerous peer-reviewed trade journal articles, some of which can be found on the Internet.  His father was a fireman/paramedic, while his mother was a registered nurse.  He holds multiple degrees in technology education, industrial management, OSHA Safety, and Driver’s Education.  His personal website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
15 days ago

Democrats are going to do all they can to protect their hides. Patriots are going to do all they can to bring them to Justice. There’s a lot at stake.