InI Query #2: Are Obama & Eric Holder Credible on Matters of Police Brutality/Racial Disparity?
In the aftermath of the oft-too-witnessed spectacle of a lifeless, unarmed black body lying in the street, and police departments serving as both protector and predator, there are cries for a federal investigation. Yesterday while vacationing at the long time Presidential staple Martha’s Vineyard, Barack Obama stated that he’d “been in talks” with Attorney General Eric Holder as well as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, whom Obama referred to as “a good man and a fine governor”—in regards to investigating the death of Michael Brown. “The FBI and the Department of Justice will investigate. He was 18 years old, and his family will never hold Michael in their arms again,” Obama said. As far as the violence happening on the streets of Ferguson right now, Obama refused to pick sides. “There’s no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests,” he offered. Police should “not be bullying or arresting journalists just trying to do their jobs.” But also, “There is never an excuse for violence against police” or “looting” in the wake of tragedy.
This statement has everything the typical “political response” should have; a promise of an upcoming action, a condemnation of lawlessness on both sides, even a “shout out” to the First Amendment. Yet, based upon their own accumulation of L’s and check-marks in the loss column of what my Granny used to term as, “The Game of Words vs. Deeds” in the past…
InI must Query at this Iwah: Are Barack Obama & Eric Holder really credible when it comes to matters of police brutality, or matters of racial disparity in general? Let us rewind.
Many of Rastafari.TV‘s viewers may recall the U.S. Commander-in-Chief’s 2012 remarks when addressing the killing of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who on Feb. 26, 2012 was shot dead in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., as he returned home from a 7-Eleven store with a packet of Skittles and bottle of iced tea. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said during a press gathering in the Rose Garden, after he was asked about the incident that had recently sparked an international debate.The President had prefaced his remarks by saying he had “to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.””Obviously, this is a tragedy,” said the President. “I can only imagine what these parents are going through, and when I think about this, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and everybody pulls together – federal, state and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
Enter the first so-called African-American to be elected/appointed to the high Office of Attorney General, Eric E. Holder, and the United States Justice Department; an office once held by Robert F. Kennedy, when he took on the mob like “Gangbusters”. Pun intended. Well on May 6, 2012, Holder came out swinging like “Bobby,” promising that “This (violence) is an issue that has -– rightly -– garnered significant national attention in recent months will be investigated thoroughly, as our nation has struggled to make sense of the tragic shooting death of a Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin,” Holder said when speaking to an NAACP Chapter in Detroit. “As this case moves through the legal system, Justice Department officials will continue to communicate closely with state and local authorities to ensure that community concerns are heard, tensions are alleviated, and – as with every investigation at every level – appropriate actions are guided by the facts and the law.”
Like my bredren, “Country-from-Country” used to say, “Whaapen Fambilly, wha tings ah gwaan pon di tings?” Well, according to U.S. State Department Court Docs, not much besides an “open investigation”.
Rastafari.TV has obtained letters from Florida 3rd District Representative Corrine Brown, Amnesty International, the ACLU, and The National Bar Association, all petitioning Holder for a “follow-up” and action on the Martin/Zimmerman case, in the aftermath of nationwide protests after the not-guilty verdict. The ACLU even went as far as referencing the 1999 case of 22 year-old Guinea immigrant Amadou Ahmed Diallo was fatally shot 41 times by white New York Police Officers reaching for his wallet, after being challenged to produce identification. Also referenced was Sean Bell, a 23-year-old who was shot 50 times and killed by New York City Police when leaving his bachelor party in 2003. The ACLU also reminded Holder that in 2005, New Orleans Police Officers shot six unarmed civilians, two of whom died, near the Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The group went further, citing the murder of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back and killed by BART Oakland Transit Police on New Year’s morning in 2009 after being hauled off the BART train and handcuffed by BART Officers. In reminding Holder of both the authority as well as the obligation of his office they wrote,”These cases are painful illustrations of the need for the Department to prioritize issuing strengthened guidance to law enforcement on racial profiling and excessive force.”
Holder’s response? Nada at first. Well, not from “E” personally, his office released the following statement; “Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial,” end quote. The NAACP, in whose company Holder had made his first public comment on the case, then launched a petition on its website calling on Holder to scrutinize the case.
Finally, finding himself in the peculiar position of delivering yet another “keynote address” at the (wait for it….) 104th annual National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Convention in Orlando (less than 30 miles from Sanford) on July 16, 2013 Holder made another (albeit softer…like with a built-in backdoor) promise to take action on the matter:
HOLDER: I know the NAACP and its members are deeply are deeply — and rightly — concerned about this case, as passionate civil rights leaders, as engaged citizens and most of all as parents. This afternoon I want to assure you of two things: I am concerned about this case and — (cheers, applause) — and as we confirmed last spring, the Justice Department has an open investigation into it. Now — (applause) — while that inquiry is ongoing, I can promise that the Department of Justice will consider all available information before determining what action to take.
(See that door now? No? Okay, just one second–)
HOLDER: But independent of the legal determination that will be made, I believe this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honestly — honestly — and openly about the complicated and emotionally-charged issues that this case has raised. Years ago, some of these same issues drove my father to sit down with me to have a conversation — which is no doubt familiar to many of you — about how, as a young black man, I should interact with the police…..
(Door CREAKS open)
Holder then slips out of the “Politician’s childhood reminiscence” and into the classic “Politician’s ode to the days of old,” complete with references to the 60’s, MLK, LBJ, the Voting Rights Act, the Kennedy’s and their goodwill towards so-called African-Americans in the Civil Rights Struggle. Never-mind the fact that it was also from the same seat of Attorney General that on October 10, 1963, the aforementioned Robert F. Kennedy committed what is widely viewed as one of the most ignominious acts in modern American history: he authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin wiretapping the telephones of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. RFK’S cover-story was that he believed one of King’s closest advisers was a top-level member of the American Communist Party, and that King had repeatedly misled Administration officials about his ongoing close ties with the man.
The truth is, Robert Francis Kennedy authorized J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Martin Luther King, because the Machiavellian Hoover had amassed a vacuum cleaner’s amount of dirt (including his extra-marital dalliances, and his friendships with mobsters) on his brother, President John F. Kennedy. RFK’s folding under JEH’s soft-extortion is an act that sowed the seeds that eventually grew into the monstrous COINTELPRO.
But back to the lecture at hand… Regardless of his previous declarations, in spite of MoveOn.Org Petitions that number over 550,000 signatures, and pleas from his beloved NAACP who apparently always has a podium available for him. In the face of all these factors, as of this very date, no action has been taken. Not for Trayvon. Not for Sean Bell. Not for Oscar Grant. Nothing about the 2013 Mexican assassination of 28 year-old Malcolm Latif Shabazz, Grand-Sun of Pan-Africanist Freedom Fighter El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz/Malcolm X.
President Obama seems to have forsaken “himself” and his “possible son in an alternative universe” as well, simply releasing a statement via the White House in August 2013: “President Obama won’t involve himself in the Justice Department decision on whether to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman.” White House spokesman Jay Carney added, “It would be inappropriate for Obama to express an opinion on how the Justice Department deals with Zimmerman,” end quote.
So InI again must query: “Why all the fire, and passionate speaking, and self-identifying, and promises for justice for Trayvon Martin in 2012, then the lukewarm responses after the verdict in 2013, and now a Biblical-plague-proportion-of-crickets on the matter in 2014?
Possibly because Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman in 2012, the same year of the last Presidential Campaign/Election. Can anyone say “campaign mode?” When questioned in May of 2014 on the status of the Martin case, Holder has only stated repeatedly that “the investigation is ongoing”.
Indeed. So are the killings.
“Keep ’em Locked, Like Master”
Still not perturbed? Okay, let us now see how our dynamic duo of Obama/Holder holds up as it applies to their record on another epidemic plaguing the so-called (put a pin in that grenade, another time, another forum) Black Community: The disproportionate, systemically criminal 1980’s drug laws which were hyped, proselytized, and signed into law by some of the very men who helped bring the drugs in.
Yes, Iyah, correct indeed! Google de mon “Oliver North/Iran Contra/Nicaragua Sandinistas” and pick up a copy of Gary Webb’s (Rest in Power) book, “Dark Alliance.” Den lookup de mon Daniel Blandon and him ting wit “Freeway” Ricky Ross. No, not de rapper youth!
Pardon me, I had to have a quick reasoning. Now, back to “Words vs Deeds,” the Obama-Holder-80’s Crack Sentencing Version. On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, the Federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the “United States v. Blewett Opinion,” ruled that the so-called “Fair Sentencing Act of 2010”, (which reduced the racist laws fixing the penalties for crack cocaine at 100 times those for powder cocaine to a somewhat less unfair ratio of 18 to 1) would NOT be applied retroactively to the thousands of people still serving obscenely long prison sentences from the quarter century those laws were enforced.
Once again, the NAACP was closely involved by way of its Legal Defense Fund, which represented the families of prisoners serving those unjust sentences. In a press release that same day, the NAACP LDP hopefully exclaimed that they were “heartened that 7 judges did favor the release of the prisoners suffering these unfair sentences”, and that “…Their powerful dissents encourage us to remain steadfast in our effort to win the release of those held under draconian and discriminatory sentences.”
Touching isn’t it? But what the NAACP LDP failed to mention was that their legal opponents in this case were President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department, which opposed in court the application of the very law which that the president signed and the Attorney General applauded! One more time for your mind…. It was the Obama-Holder Justice Department which first refused to retroactively reduce the unfair crack cocaine sentences under the “Fair Sentencing Act of 2010” which Obama signed into law and Holder fervently praised, and the same Obama-Holder Justice Department that went to court against the NAACR LDP and their plaintiffs, the families of those men serving those unjust sentences!
Yes, Iyah! It was the same Obama-Holder Justice Department dat trod to de court and sue to uphold de sentences, to keep de mon dem lockup! Fighting against conviction indeed!
All apologies, moving forward. On Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole had a highly-touted Press Conference announcing the Clemency Initiative, and the release of eight (yes, eight!) men and women who had each served more than 15 years in prison for crack cocaine offenses. For two of these individuals, it was the first conviction they’d ever received. As of this date, some 3,300 federal inmates have applied to have their prison sentences cut short, how many have been released? EIGHT. Yes, the same eight.
Now some may say, “it’s better than nothing”, but it’s in no sense a start at dismantling (crosses out “New Slavery”) the Prison Industrial Complex. Clemency changes no laws, nor institutions, nor police, nor prosecutorial or prison practices. The cells will remain packed to the brim with disproportionate number of so-called (pin in grenade) “Blacks&Latinos.” It’s a cynical, empty gesture from an administration marked by utter indifference to black suffering, unless it’s an Election Year, or yes, there is a need for Political Theater and Mass Distraction.
Who the Cap Fit?
Let us not continue to be emotionally gullible, much in the same way that we should be side-eye-champions when we see the Usual Suspects (the NAACP, Al Sharpton, Jesse “I wiped MLK’s blood on my shirt before talking to the press to make my lie more believable” Jackson, the FBI, the Just-us Department) trampling each other for stage and air-time, we should finally realize that any “Poor-Lie-Tician,” whether they be “Hesitant of the United Stakes,” or an “Eternally Sinful,” or just a fame-hogging, FBI-informing, back-sliding, blood-sucker-of-the-mind-and-pocket-of-the-poor Preacher practicing professionalized soft-extortion with an eternal process in his hair….
Waiting for any of them to deliver you JUSTICE pretty much equals the same thing: