Could Loretta Lynch Be a Worse Attorney General than Eric Holder?
But facts are stubborn things, as they say, and police officers are asked to go out on the streets and confront them. And when they do, people sometimes get hurt. If that person happens to be black, no stone is left unturned in the effort to investigate the involved police officers and see them punished for even the slightest deviation from policy, even if that deviation exists only in the imagination of those who are so deluded as to think that the grittier areas of Los Angeles (or St. Louis or Chicago or Baltimore or any other city you could name) would be Edenic if it weren’t for all those cruel, racist cops running around.
This is not to say that police officers should not be held accountable for their transgressions. Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer who earlier this month killed Walter Scott by shooting him in the back, has been charged with murder. And while so severe a charge may turn out to be excessive, I have yet to meet a fellow cop who doesn’t feel Slager deserves to be punished for what, based on what we know today, appears to be a flagrant violation of the law.
But police officers know they need not violate any laws or even any department policies to find themselves in the dock with their lives in ruins. Witness the fate of Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who last August shot and killed Michael Brown. Wilson was cleared of wrongdoing by every investigative body that examined the case, including a local grand jury and Eric Holder’s own Justice Department. Nearly all of the evidence that exonerated Wilson was known within hours of the shooting, and most of the rest of it was known within a week, yet he still was forced to resign from his job, leave his home, and live in hiding while the poisonous Hands Up, Don’t Shoot myth was propagated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for months.
Every cop America has Darren Wilson somewhere in the back of his mind as he heads out of the station to begin his work shift every day. And every cop knows that when he goes to stop someone whose behavior has attracted his attention, the guy might run or he might fight, either of which presents at least as great a risk to the cop as it does to the criminal. Why take that chance? Why not just drive on? It should come as no surprise that in Los Angeles, arrests for violent crime are down 13 percent even as violent crime itself is up 28 percent.
Eric Holder wasn’t able claim Darren Wilson’s scalp in the death of Michael Brown. One could almost sense Holder’s disappointment in having to issue the DOJ report (PDF) that cleared Wilson, but he satisfied himself with the hit piece (PDF) his Civil Rights Division did on the Ferguson Police Department, which was released (coincidentally, I’m sure) the same day.
Is there anyone who believes that Loretta Lynch will be any less calculating in her stewardship of the Justice Department?