The PJ Tatler

AG Holder has a Chance to do Some Good in Ferguson. But He'll Probably Make Everything Worse

Certain patterns have emerged in the ongoing story of unrest in Ferguson, MO.

Most people have few facts and little idea what they’re talking about, yet that seems to be slowing very few of us down in commenting on how the situation between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown Jr. led to the latter’s death. We still don’t have the official police report on the matter.

We do have a lot of eye witness testimony, but as anyone who has spent much time around anyone who has conducted criminal investigations knows, eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. People tend to see what they want to see. Our brains fill in gaps in what we see to build a coherent picture that may not be true. Two people can see the exact same event and come away with entirely different versions of what they saw.

What we need is squad car video, or police body camera video, but unfortunately the Ferguson PD doesn’t mandate that.

We don’t have a lot of forensic evidence at this point. We can’t trust the best and brightest in the online media who are in Ferguson to even get basic things right. It’s hard to report accurately from a position of total cluelessness.

Those are earplugs. He writes for the Huffington Post.

Reporter — get thyself to a gun range and learn something.

It’s one thing to be clueless, another to be biased, and another thing still to be biased and in a position of great power.

Attorney General Eric Holder rides into Ferguson today to bring the mind behind calling America a “nation of cowards,” and who views his role in government as one to benefit “my people,” to the scene of great racial unrest.

First, it’s highly unusual for a US attorney general to get directly involved in a local police-related shooting in which all the facts have not yet come out. This particular attorney general even claimed, when the Fast and Furious scandal broke, that he doesn’t read his own office mail and learned about the scandal from the news. His behavior as Congress investigated that scandal was so atrocious that he was held in contempt of Congress. President Obama scuttled the whole investigation by asserting executive privilege. We still don’t have many answers in a scandal that resulted in the deaths of two American public servants, and probably hundreds of innocent Mexican citizens.

Obama and Holder have both pressed the Ferguson police to be more “transparent.” That’s rich, to say the least.

While Obama has sought not to comment directly on Ferguson — having learned the hard way from his previous interventions in the “acted stupidly” episode and the Trayvon Martin situation — Holder has not.

AG Holder has criticized the Ferguson police for “selective release of sensitive information” in that case. He has a point, but not much of one since his own Justice Department pressured the Ferguson PD to not release the video of Michael Brown’s robbery just minutes before the shooting.

That video speaks directly to Michael Brown’s state of mind as Officer Wilson approached him. Had Brown merely been “minding his own business” as several eye witnesses initially claimed (those eye witnesses didn’t know about the robbery), then he would have been less likely to respond to the officer with hostility, let alone force. But if he had just robbed a store, he surely believed that the officer was there to arrest him and take him to jail. That video tells us what might have been going on in Brown’s mind and why, as some witnesses claim, he attacked the officer. If he attacked the officer, and especially if he tried to take the officer’s gun, then the officer would have been justified in using lethal force. He had to defend himself. He also had to make sure that Brown, a suspect in a strong-arm robbery, did not get ahold of a police firearm.

Other things tell us about Brown’s possible state of mind — the gang evidence in his rap music, and why he might have chosen to steal Swisher Sweet cigars. Those are some of the worst, cheapest cigars on the market. But they serve a pothead’s purpose, and one of the autopsies found that Brown had marijuana in his system.

None of this evidence is conclusive, of course. But Holder seems to have made up his mind before ever going to Ferguson. So have many in the media. Take a look at how CBS frames Holder’s visit.

Holder’s efforts so far are encouraging to those looking for reforms to the systemic problems that led to Brown’s shooting on Aug. 9 and the subsequent unrest in Ferguson, such as racial inequities in the criminal justice system and mistrust between local police forces and the communities they protect. Still, they’re looking for a commitment to reform from the Justice Department that will last long after the dust settles in Ferguson.

There may have been “systematic problems” in the Brown case, but no one is in a position to declare that yet. Certainly not a media that tends to get everything wrong when it comes to firearms, and that is so deep in the tank for the Democrats that it seldom even comes up for air. At this point, the shooting looks like a tragic case of overreaction — by Brown. Whether the officer overreacted isn’t clear yet. He may have, but he may not have.

CBS does tell us that Holder was not sent to Ferguson by Obama, as many believe. Holder proactively decided to go to Ferguson, and then told the president he was going.

So Holder has an agenda of his own going into Ferguson. What is it?