DOJ Investigation of Ferguson Police: Fair and Impartial?
This includes the very head of the Section, Jonathan Smith:
Following the rather ignominious departure of the previous chief in 2010, the Civil Rights Division brought in Jonathan Smith to take the helm of the Special Litigation Section. And what a pick! Indeed, when it comes to liberal activists, Mr. Smith is right out of central casting. He served for eight years as executive director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and spent the four years prior to that as the executive director of the Public Justice Center, an organization whose stated mission is “to enforce and expand the rights of people who suffer injustice because of their poverty or discrimination.”
He also spent another nine years as a staff attorney and executive director of the D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services Project, advocating on behalf of criminals incarcerated in the nation’s capital. For local police departments that find themselves the subject of investigations by Mr. Smith’s shop, his biases will surely reinforce the notion that any expectation of neutrality in the Section’s probes is a pipe dream.
Our review of the backgrounds and experience of the lawyers working in the Special Litigation Section, combined with my own experience working in the Civil Rights Division, convinced me that almost all the lawyers in the Section harbor an active hostility towards law enforcement. That makes it difficult to have confidence in the impartiality and objectiveness of any investigation the Special Litigation Section conducts in Ferguson.