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United States Attorney General Eric Holder.
[T]he federal civil rights investigation into the shooting incident itself continues, in parallel with the local investigation into state law violations. Our investigators from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. attorney’s office in Missouri have already conducted interviews with eyewitnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting incident on Saturday. Our review will take time to conduct, but it will be thorough and fair.”—Attorney General Eric Holder

What can the Department of Justice do about the issues in Ferguson? Not just the killing of Michael Brown but the conduct of Ferguson, St. Louis County and Missouri law enforcement as well? A Reuters piece considers the options:

After Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to the St. Louis suburb on Wednesday, he vowed that the Justice Department would stay involved to help heal the relationship between the police department and the public.  [...] So what more can Holder and the Justice Department do?  Fortunately, whatever the outcome of the criminal process, they still have important tools at their disposal.

One crucial order of business will be to identify any credible allegations that the Ferguson Police Department used excessive force or other unconstitutional practices in responding to the demonstrations. [...]  The attorney general has authority to investigate and file suit against a police department that has engaged in a pattern of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal laws. The investigation leading to such a suit can include an in-depth examination of the Ferguson Police Department’s use of force, its conduct in searches, surveillance and making arrests (including allegations of racial profiling and other bias) and its procedures for training, supervising and disciplining officers. In Ferguson, the investigation will have to include the police department’s interference with the First Amendment rights of the press.

I'll discuss Justice's mandate and procedure on these issues on the other side.

Justice's mandate regarding law enforcement misconduct is discussed in this Civil Rights Division statement:

The various offices within DOJ that are responsible for enforcing the laws discussed in this document coordinate their investigation and enforcement efforts where appropriate. For example, a complaint received by one office may be referred to another if necessary to address the allegations. In addition, more than one office may investigate the same complaint if the allegations raise issues covered by more than one statute. What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Criminal and civil laws are different. Criminal cases usually are investigated and handled separately from civil cases, even if they concern the same incident. In a criminal case, DOJ brings a case against the accused person; in a civil case, DOJ brings the case (either through litigation or an administrative investigation) against a governmental authority or law enforcement agency.  [... I]n criminal cases, DOJ seeks to punish a wrongdoer for past misconduct through imprisonment or other sanction. In civil cases, DOJ seeks to correct a law enforcement agency's policies and practices that fostered the misconduct and, where appropriate, may require individual relief for the victim(s).

Federal Criminal Enforcement

It is a crime for one or more persons acting under color of law willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242). "Color of law" simply means that the person doing the act is using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, State, or Federal). A law enforcement officer acts "under color of law" even if he or she is exceeding his or her rightful power. The types of law enforcement misconduct covered by these laws include excessive force, sexual assault, intentional false arrests, or the intentional fabrication of evidence resulting in a loss of liberty to another. Enforcement of these provisions does not require that any racial, religious, or other discriminatory motive existed. What remedies are available under these laws? Violations of these laws are punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. [...]

Federal Civil Enforcement

"Police Misconduct Provision"

This law makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (42 U.S.C. § 14141). The types of conduct covered by this law can include, among other things, excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests. In order to be covered by this law, the misconduct must constitute a "pattern or practice"—it may not simply be an isolated incident. The DOJ must be able to show in court that the agency has an unlawful policy or that the incidents constituted a pattern of unlawful conduct.  [...] DOJ does not have to show that discrimination has occurred in order to prove a pattern or practice of misconduct. What remedies are available under this law? [... the laws] provide for injunctive relief, such as orders to end the misconduct and changes in the agency's policies and procedures that resulted in or allowed the misconduct. There is no private right of action under this law; only DOJ may file suit for violations of the Police Misconduct Provision.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the "OJP Program Statute"

Together, these laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion by State and local law enforcement agencies that receive financial assistance from the Department of Justice. (42 U.S.C. § 2000d, et seq. and 42 U.S.C. § 3789d(c)). Currently, most persons are served by a law enforcement agency that receives DOJ funds. These laws prohibit both individual instances and patterns or practices of discriminatory misconduct, i.e., treating a person differently because of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion. The misconduct covered by Title VI and the OJP (Office of Justice Programs) Program Statute includes, for example, harassment or use of racial slurs, unjustified arrests, discriminatory traffic stops, coercive sexual conduct, retaliation for filing a complaint with DOJ or participating in the investigation, use of excessive force, or refusal by the agency to respond to complaints alleging discriminatory treatment by its officers. What remedies are available under these laws? DOJ may seek changes in the policies and procedures of the agency to remedy violations of these laws and, if appropriate, also seek individual remedial relief for the victim(s). [...]

It is certainly clear that Justice has a broad mandate to investigate and seek remedies, both civil and criminal, and monetary and injunctive. Based on Holder's statements quoted at the top of this piece, it appears that Justice is taking a broad view of the Ferguson issue.

However, there is also the issue of federal intervention in the Michael Brown case itself. And here Justice has been more aggressive and early in its involvement than its existing   policy provides for. Specifically it has moved faster than what Petite Policy calls for:

This policy establishes guidelines for the exercise of discretion by appropriate officers of the Department of Justice in determining whether to bring a federal prosecution based on substantially the same act(s) or transactions involved in a prior state or federal proceeding. See Rinaldi v. United States, 434 U.S. 22, 27, (1977); Petite v. United States, 361 U.S. 529 (1960). Although there is no general statutory bar to a federal prosecution where the defendant's conduct already has formed the basis for a state prosecution, Congress expressly has provided that, as to certain offenses, a state judgment of conviction or acquittal on the merits shall be a bar to any subsequent federal prosecution for the same act or acts. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 659, 660, 1992, 2101, 2117; see also 15 U.S.C. §§ 80a-36, 1282.

[...] This policy precludes the initiation or continuation of a federal prosecution, following a prior state or federal prosecution based on substantially the same act(s) or transaction(s) unless three substantive prerequisites are satisfied: first, the matter must involve a substantial federal interest; second, the prior prosecution must have left that interest demonstrably unvindicated; and third, applying the same test that is applicable to all federal prosecutions, the government must believe that the defendant's conduct constitutes a federal offense, and that the admissible evidence probably will be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction by an unbiased trier of fact. In addition, there is a procedural prerequisite to be satisfied, that is, the prosecution must be approved by the appropriate Assistant Attorney General.

In order to insure the most efficient use of law enforcement resources, whenever a matter involves overlapping federal and state jurisdiction, federal prosecutors should, as soon as possible, consult with their state counterparts to determine the most appropriate single forum in which to proceed to satisfy the substantial federal and state interests involved, and, if possible, to resolve all criminal liability for the acts in question.

In theory then, Justice should, in the first instance, wait for the relevant state law enforcement process to be completed before making charging decisions and even then, it should respect the result of the state process unless the state process leaves a substantial federal interest unvindicated. Many of us, and I imagine the Attorney General himself, believe this seems a likely result of the process being overseen by St. Louis County prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch. Indeed with regard to law enforcement behavior in response to the Ferguson protests, McCulloch has already disqualified himself.

But with regard to the Michael Brown killing, the Petite Policy very much directs Justice to await the results of the state proceeding (though the Petite Policy "applies only to charging decisions; it does not apply to pre-charge investigation." Thus, as we have seen, Attorney General Holder has gone forward with the federal investigation on the Michael Brown killing. However, charging decisions are not likely to occur until the Missouri state process is complete. In terms of the investigation, AP reported it has hit the ground running:

The U.S. Department of Justice has mounted an unusually swift and aggressive response to the death of Michael Brown, from an independent autopsy to dozens of FBI agents combing Ferguson, Missouri, for witnesses to the shooting of the unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer.

[...] 40 FBI agents started going door-to-door in the neighborhood where the shooting took place, interviewing witnesses and gathering information. An independent federal autopsy was announced Sunday, and Attorney General Eric Holder said it was performed Monday. President Barack Obama also announced Monday that Holder would travel to Ferguson to meet with investigators and community leaders.

However, in my view, Justice has been much too slow and timid in investigating the practices of local law enforcement regarding the Ferguson demonstrations. There has been an obvious and continuing practice of constitutional violations by local law enforcement and Justice should be moving NOW on these points. The investigation only requires watching video in this case.

So, kudos to Justice for its early intervention in the Michael Brown killing investigation, but a negative review on its timidity to act against local law enforcement's blatantly unconstitutional practices regarding the Ferguson demonstrations.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good diary, but I disagree on the speed of the (15+ / 0-)

    DOJ investigation.  No credible investigation is based solely on a video.  Let Holder do the job.

  •  This shooting is a Societal Rorschach test... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dinotrac, drmah

    The left sees an innocent black victim gunned down by a overzealos cop. The right sees a black thug rightfully gunned down, with the cop performing a community service.
    Bottom line, unless you were there, you don't know what happened.  Lets let these investigations (which seem to be taking an inordinately long time) conclude. We should defer to them, regardless of their outcome.

    •  There is no good reason for him to be dead; (36+ / 0-)

      I don't care if he was a mass murderer. White mass myrderers manage to be captured alive, mostly. Brown was unarmed except for his magical scary blackness that cowardly armed white men can't deal with.

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:27:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know exactly what happened. (26+ / 0-)

      An unarmed man wanted for no particular crime at the time was gunned down 30 ft away from the cop who was shooting him.  I don't think anyone disputes those facts.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:32:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No you don't. (0+ / 0-)

        That's my point. You listen to left wing talking points, no different than the right listens to theirs.
        None of us will know, really KNOW, until these investigations complete and their results published.

        •  Actually, those static facts are unassailable (26+ / 0-)

          Brown was unarmed, the many images captured by folks who were there at the time of the incident are corroborative of the public statements by those who have been willing to come forth to date. In addition, do you seriously think that the Ferguson PD wouldn't have blared out the news that he had a weapon on him the day of the shooting?

          The Ferguson PD, when it released the video of the store camera showing we don't really know what, due to lack of audio, if there HAD been a pending charge from that incident, they would have released that, too, with the video. Since no charges of any sort are active and pending against Brown, even posthumously, then he was indeed "wanted for no particular crime at the time".

          There have been differing accounts of the distance between the shooting officer (Wilson) and the dead, unarmed teen lying on the ground for hours after his shooting (Brown), but again the multiple video and images taken by bystanders and later media do show what appears to be about 30 feet from the police vehicle to the body. Of course we will have more definitive data on this once the official autopsy report is released following the Grand Jury finding on whether or not charges in the case will be pursued.

          These are not "left wing talking points". They are the known particulars of the case so far.

          A "left wing talking point" might be: a white cop shot and killed an unarmed black kid for breathing while black.... but considering that white cops kill (mostly) unarmed black men about twice a week in just the past five years per a recent FBI report which had made the media rounds in the past few weeks?

          Food for thought, just in case you're hungry for some.

          "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

          by Angie in WA State on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 01:28:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll be the first to say this looks.. (0+ / 0-)

            like a bad shoot. I'd also follow that with "but, I don't know."
            Known particulars are, this unarmed kid was shot and killed by a Ferguson PD officer. Initial autopsy results show he was shot from the front, and there were no powder burns on his body.
            Is it really too much too ask to wait until the investigation results are posted to admit we have a truly informed opinion?

          •  More known particulars (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cartoon Messiah, suka

            Officer Wilson was gone from the scene before the ambulance arrived.  His name was withheld for more than a week.  There was no officer involved shooting report or incident report filed.  The store owner said no one from his store reported a theft (and there's supposedly another surveillance tape of Mr Brown paying for the cigars).  We also know that Wilson was part of another police force that was disbanded because of its numerous civil rights violations.  We also know that, from the civil rights violations that were streamed live from the protests, that the Ferguson police dept has a problem with their black citizens.   I  believe that, based on what is known, Wilson needs to be tried along with other members of the Ferguson PD.

            •  No, what you say is known (0+ / 0-)

              is not accurate.

              The shooting occurred at 12:01.  At 12:04, a second officer arrives, followed by a supervisor and an ambulance at 12:05.  Wilson was still at the scene.

              USA Today Michael Brown Timeline

              As to the convenience store, the incident report is clear that Brown did not pay for the cigars, and that one of the employees called 911:

              An unidentified employee had just come out of the restroom and come to the counter when she observed Brown telling a clerk he wanted several boxes of cigars, the reports say. The name of two employees have been redacted from the report:

              "As (redacted) was placing the boxes on the counter, Brown grabbed a box of Swisher Sweets cigars and handed them to Johnson who was standing behind Brown. (Redacted) witnessed (redacted) tell Brown that he had to pay for those cigars first. That is when Brown reached across the counter and grabbed numerous packs of Swisher Sweets and turned to leave the store. (Redacted) then calls '911.'

              Meanwhile (redacted) comes out from behind the counter and attempts to stop Brown from leaving. According to (redacted),(redacted) was trying to lock the door until Brown returned the merchandise to him. That is when Brown grabbed (redacted) by the shirt and forcefully pushed him back in to a display rack. (Redacted) backed away and Brown and Johnson exited the store with the cigars."

              The lawyer for Johnson, who was walking with Michael Brown when Wilson fatally shot Brown, said Johnson told authorities about the cigar theft earlier this week.
              “He told them about the cigarillos and that Big Mike took cigarillos,” said the lawyer, former St. Louis Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr.

              St Louis Today

              There has been massive confusion concerning this shooting from day one - much of it fed by the lack of information flow from the various authorities involved. The facts will come out, but perhaps not at a pace that everyone will like.

              I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

              by Wayward Wind on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:40:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Flase Equivalency Much? (19+ / 0-)

      The Left as you refer to us, looks at the facts, listens to the eyewitnesses, scrutinizes the autopsy report for corroboration, bemoans police abuse and brutality and stands up for the Constitutional Rights of all people. The Right, not so much. Have they ever seen a Black Man gunned down by police, ever protested by the Right or one which they thought was wrong? I didn't think so...

    •  Do you really think the position of the right (22+ / 0-)

      has any merit at all?
      Police are not supposed to be judge, jury, and executioner. There is no way that an unarmed teen, no matter how big and black, presented a life-threatening danger to that cop.

      Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:36:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I don't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        they see things through a veil of emotional angst aggratavated by the propaganda they continuously ingest. But, I think liberals have convicted this cop of murder based on what they too have heard in the media. Not all that different really.

        •  Why is Brown dead, not arrested? I guess it was (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cartoon Messiah, peregrine kate, suka

          too much work to call for backup.

          I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

          by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:13:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  THAT is the question to be determined... (0+ / 0-)

            by the investigation.

          •  Because at the time of the encounter (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            suka, cablecargal, cspivey, SunnyDay, a2nite

            officer Wilson did not know that there had been a theft, much less have a description of a suspect. So when he encountered Brown, he had no grounds to arrest him for anything. The police chief has admitted as much.

            •  He intent was not to arrest.. (0+ / 0-)

              Brown's companion stated that Wilson told them to stop walking in the street, citing a safety issue. This kicked off the confrontation.

              •  Taser? Pepper spray? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mark Lippman, suka, cspivey

                Walking in the street, shoplifting, even armed robbery: none are capital crimes. And even if they were, Brown should have been tried by a jury, not by a single cop. As someone said above, white mass murderers often die in prison.

                Talking back to a cop or refusing to immediately comply with his orders is not a killing offense.

                I think Mike Brown's mother would have rather seen him tased for his smart mouth than bleeding out on the street. As the mother of teenagers, this is what scares me. Kids don't always think. That doesn't mean they deserve to die.  

                "So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key." --Robb Strandlund and Jack Tempchin

                by Celestia89 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 05:09:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah they are if you're a scary black beast (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  suka

                  because the majority white sect says its okay.

                  I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

                  by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 05:27:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Officer Wilson belongs in the 9th circle of hell (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eddiematrix1, suka, cspivey

            I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

            by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 05:26:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  A black thug "rightfully" gunned down? Please. ... (10+ / 0-)

      A black thug "rightfully" gunned down? Please. Define that for us.

    •  Your comment is offensive (18+ / 0-)

      We absolutely know what happened.

      An armed officer of the government shot an unarmed man, and from far enough away there was no gunshot residue or blast-wounding on his body, meaning further than arm's reach at least, certainly far enough away that any self-defense claims are incredible and ludicrous.

      I don't need to have "been there" to read the reports of the autopsy and to hear the testimony of witnesses which asserts that the victim was not threatening the officer.

      The "let's wait til all the facts are in" is great on CNN, but mostly it's a RW excuse to drag out the process and slow-walk justice while RW mouthpieces muddy the water and throw dust in the air to attempt to influence any possible jury pool for any subsequent legal action.

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:57:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's offensive to suggest we should wait... (0+ / 0-)

        for the reports to be published? Thin skinned aren't you?
        The right wing reads its propaganda and is just as positive this was a legitimate shoot. This is all part and parcel of due process, it takes time.
        Can you not see that you are doing the exact, mirror image the far right wing is doing?

        •  The difference is that we aren't lying about it (9+ / 0-)
          Can't you see? Thin skinned?

          It this all you've got?

          "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 01:38:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How do you know? (0+ / 0-)

            How can you be so certain that what you've seen and read is absolutely accurate?
            Answer: You can not. You've formed an opinion based on what you've heard on TV or read from the internet.

            •  Eric Holder wasn't there, either. (5+ / 0-)

              You assume I wasn't there.
              You assume it's my personal opinion.
              You assume that my sole source of information is the TeeVee machine or something I read on the Inter Tubes.

              And you presume to answer your own question as if I'm not going to say what you want me to say. That's because I won't.

              That's some kind of mind reading, I suppose.

              You're not good at it.

              "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

              by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 02:34:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  His killer will say whatever shite (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              suka, cspivey

              to fit the eyewitnesses. The prosecutor is on the side of law enforcement if the victim is black like that racist In FL Angela Corey.

              He'll walk; I hope he suffers broke & hates for his long life.

              I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

              by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:22:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Three different witnesses telling the same lie? (6+ / 0-)

              I doubt it.

              The forensic pathologist from NY stated there was no residue or stippling on Brown's wounds.

              The audio track of the gunshots has two groups of multiple shots, and the timing of the gap does not allow for any "charging" the officer, if Brown was close enough in his Fox-fantasy charge to be a threat, the gap between the groups of shots would be the length of time it would take to charge the shooter from two yards away; if he was shot as a result of charging the shooter, why weren't they tangled up on the ground, why weren't the shots fired at point-blank range?

              And as "we" all know, young black "thugs" are all very familiar with football, are very familiar with the physics of blitzing a thrower, and sure as hell would know better than to blitz from more than ten yards!

              Those of us who believe Mike Brown was murdered believe it because of the statements from the witnesses and the statements by the pathologist.

              Those who believe Mike Brown was shot for trying to "bum rush" the shooter believe it because some fantasy person calling herself "Jody" and a friend of the shooter's wife called up RW media and made a variety of assertions backed up by NOTHING, and RW IDIOTS eat it up like candy.

              We KNOW who the witnesses are who say the shooter shot Brown down like a dog; nobody knows who the fuck some phone-troll calling herself "Jody" is....

              We are expressing an opinion based upon statements made by identifiable persons at the time of the incident

              We aren't expressing an opinion based upon our social/political belief system like all the RWNJs blabbering their racist shit.

              "Bat Shit Crazy Lies" aren't entitled to equal time or consideration.

              "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

              by leftykook on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:23:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So, we KNOW "Jody" is a liar... (0+ / 0-)

                but we're positive the witnesses are telling the truth.
                If this were fox "news" the "witnesses" would all be liars and "Jody" would be telling the truth.
                Bottom line, we don't KNOW who is lying. Lets let the investigation complete. Then, and only then, will we KNOW.

              •  To this I would add the demonstration the police (6+ / 0-)

                gave of their procedures when they shot and killed another black man on the street about 10 days after Michael Brown.
                They drove up, jumped out of their vehicle, drew their weapons, and wasted little time before they opened fire.

                They didn't call for backup, they didn't clear the area, they didn't keep a safe distance, they didn't make any attempt to communicate with the man or determine his mental state,  They acted like it was their job to kill people and they showed no more concern for the man they killed than a rabid dog would get.

                It was caught on video and it appeared to be indicative of the Ferguson PD procedures. Considering Michael Brown, it's easy to conclude that officers are quick to start shooting without using other procedures to produce a different outcome.

                •  Saw that... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SunnyDay

                  Looked like an intoxicated or mentally unbalanced black male waving what looked like a knife. He looked to be 12' from the two officers. He made no effort to close the distance between himself and the officers, he posed no immediate threat to the officers. They opened fire on him, and continued to fire while the man was down.
                  That looked like murder to me. These cops could have used less than lethal force, called in for backup. They did neither. They executed the man.

              •  There you go with all your fancy facts and stuff (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                suka, cspivey

                What are the odds that someone who is running away from a cop who's shooting at him us going to turn around and suddenly change from primal flight behavior to primal fight behavior?

                That would be zero. But any RWNJ idiot would have to call you names or something just to prove you were wrong about that.

                Something like, "a Grizzly Bear would charge you!"

                You just can't fix stupid.

                "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

                by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 06:31:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  You go beyond saying we should wait. (0+ / 0-)
          We should defer to them, regardless of their outcome.
          Why "regardless of the outcome"?

          ...wispy longings for a time before Elvis and the Beatles, back when "a girl could cook and still would". You know before the troubles.~Hunter.

          by denig on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:10:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •   Using a gun for self-defence (0+ / 0-)

        If you don't shoot from further than arm's reach, you're in a lot of trouble.

        If, and I don't believe it for a second, Michael was charging a gun from 30' away, it would definitely have been a case of self-defence. That's only a couple of seconds. You don't wait until he's couple of steps away to fire.

        The Empire never ended.

        by thejeff on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:41:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's rather shortsighted (12+ / 0-)

      Police kill 4 to 10 times as many people as the states lawfully execute. There's something wrong here. It is not the role of police to be judge, jury, and executioner.

      http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/...

      http://www.usatoday.com/...

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:59:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not responsive to my diary (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, LinSea, suka, cspivey, denig

      But maybe you were addressing something else.

  •  I'm sort of hoping that (12+ / 0-)

    once the dust settles, it won't get swept under the rug... For a completely mixed metaphor, I also think there are some really ugly things hiding under the rock that the protests in Ferguson overturned. The wheels of justice move slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine, right?

  •  Another issue is the way the city of Ferguson (26+ / 0-)

    finances itself according to several news stories -- the extraordinary number of tickets issued as a matter of course, followed by warrants, followed by fines, all levied disproportionately against the city's African American residents.

  •  Thanks Armando, didn't you know the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, suka, cspivey

    Constitution is for "whites only"?

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:22:00 PM PDT

  •  Klan Act enforcement...(acting under Color of Law) (5+ / 0-)

    I've always wondered how that work vis a vis departments and individuals.

    I know individuals can be prosecuted. Can entire departments.

    If a department can be prosecuted,  what is done to protect the rights of individual officers who may not have participated in the illegal acts?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:26:27 PM PDT

  •  Justice has been slow (10+ / 0-)

    to investigate the police response to the demonstrations, perhaps because that issue brings a federal policy question it might not want to deal with, perhaps.

    And I hope whatever turns up, the degree of racial profiling by the police in traffic stops and court fines, also comes under serious investigation.

    Could a police department be put under some kind of supervision?

    We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less. (From a comment by Kossack nerafinator)

    by ramara on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:28:36 PM PDT

    •  Yes. n/t (6+ / 0-)

      2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:35:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, this wasy first thought, too... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara

      Justice has moved slowly...

      perhaps because that issue brings a federal policy question it might not want to deal with, perhaps.
      I read a diary yesterday where the author said recent polls showed a plurality of Americans felt the media had covered Ferguson too much.  I was floored!  First, an unarmed African American young man is killed in the street by police, for jaywalking.  Then, when members of his community attempt to peacefully protest, the same police bombard them with tear gas and rubber bullets.  Unarmed citizens are beaten, journalists are arrested, a church is raided and robbed by police...  The civil and constitutional rights of an entire community were suspended.  Frankly, there wasn't enough coverage.  The whole nation should have been standing with them -screaming from the rooftops.  

      But, it made me worry...  Will America's apathy give politicians the impression that they should sweep Ferguson under the rug, maintain the status quo?  I am already braced for the terrible things that the Teabaggers will say about our African American President and Attorney General investigating this matter...  Politics has no place in this discussion.  It is a question of human rights.

  •  One crucial order of business will be to identify (6+ / 0-)

    if any investment bankers were inconvenienced by actions of the Ferguson Police. If so, then cry havoc and let slip the dogs of indictment.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:31:18 PM PDT

  •  My only knowledge about the Ferguson (8+ / 0-)

    Police Department has been through the media and here at my favorite news site: DKOS.  It appears to me that Ferguson PD is more of an occupying force rather than what most would consider a Police Department.

    I wonder how FPD handles routine calls of a possible prowler, break-in, or other police matters that requires a quick police response?  I'd like to see their success rate at solving various crimes and how this compares with other cities of similar size.  I'm hoping the DOJ can provide a detailed look at the effectiveness of this PD in "protecting and serving" the public, rather than as revenue source for the City.

    "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." Albert Einstein

    by sfcouple on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:33:54 PM PDT

  •  Locals touching this case will slow walk it, ... (11+ / 0-)

    ... as they have been doing.

    Public interest cried out for some details early on. Wise heads everywhere would have counseled letting the processes of law enforcement and the rest of the justice system take their courses. A managed, temperate approach but with prompt disclosures of key facts would have limited the anger, if not dissipated it.

    Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer who left the scene. The body lay uncovered on the pavement for more than four hours. Law enforcement's reports were - to put it mildly - inadequate, amounting to a sham. Such stuff as the convenience store business is demonstrably irrelevant, nothing more than a diversion, to the homicide.

    The idea that a sitting grand jury - not one convened for the purpose nor presided over by a special prosecutor disassociated with local and county law enforcement - will take until October to deal with this is a very slow walk to justice.

    Now we hear that there have been earlier cases in Ferguson - possibly as many as five! - of challenges to cops' actions and reactions.

    True, these cases - the Brown homicide and the Ferguson law enforcement's response, including that of the local prosecutor - should be handled deliberately, done as models of thorough investigation and action consistent with everyone's rights. And the very presence of a large and focussed DOJ team at work in Ferguson should - should - prompt meaningful action by the locals.

    We'll see. But the clock is ticking, and attention to this case will not wane.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:34:11 PM PDT

    •  Just one correction (9+ / 0-)

      The cop didn't leave the scene.

      After he fired the last shot (12 in all), he didn't even bother to check to see if Mike Brown was dead or alive. He walked slowly (according to 3 witnesses) back to his squad car and spoke on the radio as another squad car was arriving.

      Then he paced back and forth for several long minutes, still wearing hit hat, never touching his "seriously hurt head" or even giving the tiniest expression of pain or discomfort (the wingers say he had a broken eye socket - and that's very painful).

      And yes, the indictment (or not) won't happen until October or beyond. Jury selection and petitions for a new venue will be filed and appealed for a year or so. And any trial will take years. I don't think anybody disagrees with this bullshit.

      But Holder's got a $40,000,000 civil rights lawsuit already filed. And he's got his own autopsy. And FBI interviews. And audio and video tape. And.....

      The people of Ferguson will elect actual human beings to govern their city before justice gets done.

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 01:49:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, Grumpy. Those facts make the cop's... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea, GrumpyOldGeek

        ... case worse, I believe.

        I don't think DOJ will wait for the conclusion of a trial. It needn't under the law. But practically speaking, I think DOJ action concerning the officer will depend on what the grand jury charges him with.

        Not so vis a vis a case against the Ferguson PD. That could come any time, although evidence gathering and analysis for such a charge is much more complicated.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:04:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This account... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GrumpyOldGeek, TRPChicago

        Is more in line with all that I have read.  I find the fact that Officer Wilson did not attempt any first aid, or even approach the body, very telling.  If Wilson were to claim that he thought Brown was armed, proper procedure would dictate that he secure Brown's weapon.  And, if he knew he wasn't armed, why not try to render aid?  I know a lot of police officers.  Most of them are good people.  All of them go to work everyday hoping they won't have to use their guns.  But, if they did, the officers I know would render aid after securing the scene and calling it in.  They wouldn't just leave a kid alone in the street.  A lot has been made about Wilson "leaving the scene" -which he did not do.  However, there are situations in which it is appropriate for an officer involved in a shooting to leave the scene early.  If an officer is injured and requires medical attention (which I do NOT believe Wilson did), or if it appears an officer is under the influence, he or she may be escorted to the hospital or appropriate facility per department protocol.  

        Of course, it seems clear that best practices, procedures and protocol are sorely lacking in the Ferguson PD and the St. Louis County PD.

        •  Protocol would have him gone from the scene asap (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TRPChicago, a2nite

          He fired his weapon. Once the scene is secured, he gets to 'splain himself. If he didn't go directly to a lawyer, he made a huge mistake. If the first lies we heard from the so-called chief of the FPD were based on the story Wilson told him, then Wilson is in it deeper than ever.

          The FPD story began with Mike Brown getting placed in the back seat of the squad car and a fight for the weapon happened, apparent;y, instantly. And it was quite a struggle because the cop had to be taken to the hospital with head wounds.

          The very first witness statement went way far away from the FPD fabricated story. So they made up a different lie. The police and RWNJ stories change sometimes within the same sentence. The witness stories, the videos, and the audio recording haven't changed and remain consistent and plausible.

          Every witness said that the police didn't want to interview them. They had offered. One even tried to offer a statement through a private lawyer. The FPD declined the offer. That's a huge problem. Can you smell the obstruction, perjury, and withholding evidence, too?

          But the audio recording of the gunshots pretty much sealed it for me.

          We know that 12 shots were fired.
          We heard 10 shots in the 9 second recording.
          Six rapid shots, three second delay, and four rapid shots.
          We know that 8 shots hit Mike Brown.
          The two shots we didn't hear probably happened before the 10 shots heard in the recording.

          That's consistent with every witness who said that Mike Brown was being pulled toward the squad car window and was trying to get away. And the subsequent shots were fired as he was running away and when he raised his hands to surrender.

          We know that the squad car was far enough away from the middle of the street where Mike Brown died that it wasn't seen in the various videos that have surfaced. So Big Mike ran a long way before he turned around. 20 yards or more. Low ball estimate. Crime scene measurements will reveal the actual distance.

          The first six rapid shots heard in the recording were so close together that it's clear that the officer was not running behind Mike Brown while shooting at him. I suspect that his shooting stance was steadied by the squad car. Gunshot residue will answer that question.

          This is already a crime. He's shooting at someone running away. Shooting him in the back. Six shots. That's assault or even attempted murder at this point.

          But he's not done. The clip isn't empty yet.

          That three second pause between the 6 shots and the 4 shots is damning. I think that this is when Mike stopped, raised his arms, and began to get down on the ground. Within 3 seconds, Mike was shot in the head twice. Within 3 seconds, intent is strongly indicated. He was intent on killing Mike. My opinion. He;ll lie for sure. Police immunity covers his ass if he just says he though Mike had a gun. Those who think he might walk aren't kidding. He could walk away.

          He was not very close to Mike when those last 4 shots were fired. Witnesses say that. Mike had run several yards down the street. The cop would have had to run almost that far in three seconds. He stopped and fired the fatal bullets after that 3 second pause. That was the moment when I realized that this could very well qualify for a charge of First Degree Murder. Premeditation, in the legal sense, can happen in a split second. And I realized that the DA is so biased that this wouldn't be the charge if there's any charge at all.

          Yes, he is clearly very upset that he just killed a kid. Anybody would be upset. But not bothering to check to see if Mike was alive or dead is a very, very, important and telling detail of this episode.

          None of this can be shown to be racially motivated. Not in a court of law.

          But this guy wouldn't have emptied his clip into a terrified kid if there weren't some serious level of racial bias going on during those last few seconds of Mike's life.

          Yeah. Mike Brown's tragic assassination is going to change things for the better, I hope. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

          We do commerce under the Universal Commercial Code. We need to police our citizens under a Universal Law Enforcement and Citizen Review Code.

          But first, more and better Democrats.

          "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 12:24:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You nailed it! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TRPChicago
      A managed, temperate approach but with prompt disclosures of key facts would have limited the anger, if not dissipated it.
      A little bit of information would have gone such a long way.  It's really very telling.  Knowledge is power.  The Ferguson PD is the entity empowered to protect the community and every citizen in it.  They refuse to share even the smallest bit of information about the shooting. They cannot surrender even a little control, in the form of information, for the sake of strengthening the community.  Yet, they expect that community to surrender total control to them.
      •  Not only "expects." The Ferguson PD demands ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        ... control of the situation they encounter. Worse, they demand their version of control.

        That's why this - and situations like it - escalate. There's no keeper of the peace around to talk the cops down. And afterwards, they don't have to explain themselves, so they don't.

        This is authoritarian bullying at work. In the faces of some - some - of those law enforcement officers as the days and nights, race rage is masquerading as law and order.

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:51:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Feds can have a positive effect (15+ / 0-)

    For years the Portland police abused minorities and the mentally ill.  There were all kinds of committees and commissions and attempts to reform the department.

    Then the Feds got involved.  The department reluctantly came up with a plan - one that took baby steps from what had been done previously.  And the Feds said, 'Not good enough; do it again.'

    Now they have to report monthly for the next five years.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/...

  •  Ferguson police misconduct (5+ / 0-)

    Certainly must include failure to provide the proper Official Reports in the legally proscribed manner (as other articles on KOS have highlighted). Any conduct short of following the letter of the Law in all regards is inexcusable, especially where a life has been taken, with the troubling details in this specific case. The (late) reports that were finally released to the press/public were shameful in their lack of any information, and strongly suggest a coverup, as do so many other aspects of the entire incident and aftermath.

    It has been so frustrating/aggravating to watch this sorry spectacle unfold: first the killing, in itself an unnecessary tragedy; and then the obvious attempts at every turn to minimize what really happened, even to casting aspersions on the young victim rather than openness and accountability from the FPD.

    Clearly, violations of police policy and state law have occurred repeatedly by the members of the police force, and DOJ should be moving more aggressively to ascertain the facts, and take appropriate actions to remedy whatever problems are exposed. If needed, penalties/punishments should also be pursued to the fullest extent possible to all persons involved, at every level.

    Only the truth will be acceptable, and I pray it comes to light soon. The future will be built on the facts of this case as they come out, and how honestly we are able to face each other/ourselves in meeting the challenges we all confront in building a just society.

    There is NO PLACE for GOVERNMENT in a VAGINA !!!!

    by Warren Pease on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:53:06 PM PDT

  •  Ferguson demonstrations (6+ / 0-)

    People have the right to peacefully demonstrate.  Municipalities do not have the right to carte blanche prohibit peaceful protest.  Government may reasonably regulate the demonstrations by time place and manner.  No one has the right to parade down the Washington Beltway at rush hour.  No one has the right to march through a residential neighborhood at 2 am with bull horns and whistles.  Don't know all the facts, but it seems that Ferguson was a bit too stingy in allowing protest marches to satisfy its obligation to facilitate first amendment protected speech.

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 12:53:36 PM PDT

    •  The police rioted, which they did (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi

      on purpose to male black protesters look unruly. CNN bought it & repeated it because the narrative has to be black = animal; white = civilized.

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 02:55:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This DOJ under Holder has done a thorough job (3+ / 0-)

    of using Title 42 USC 14141 to address police misconduct in places around the country like New Orleans and Maricopa County in Arizona. Thomas Perez who headed the Civil Rights Division was appointed (and confirmed!) to head the Dept of Labor and there's an Acting head now but there are footsteps to follow.

    The situation in Maricopa was handled in two separate federal cases: one brought by the plaintiffs which has been decided, and the second brought by the US which is still pending for violations of the 1st, 4th, and 14th amendments.

    The first case was filed in March 2009 and it took until October 2013 for the Court to issue a permanent injunction and judgment order. The documents are available on the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office website at

    http://www.mcso.org/

    Look for the link labeled Information About the Melendres Court Order on the right side of the page.

    The court ordered an independent monitor to oversee comprehensive reforms at the MCSO for a period of no less than 3 years. In the course of the investigation, the case spread out to encompass much more than the original allegations. There are some obvious differences between the situation in Arizona and Missouri. The populations targeted for racial bias aren't the same. But there are some clear parallels in the behavior of law enforcement in both locations.

  •  To start, they could get/give us the truth. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, a2nite

    Where are the reports already?  

    BTW, whatever happened to the torture report?  Still discussing redactions,  I imagine.

    "Gentlemen, let's get the thing straight, once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder." Richard J. Daley.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 01:02:44 PM PDT

    •  You don't issue a report until it's finished (0+ / 0-)

      and the Ferguson situation is still in the early stages of an investigation.

      People want the DOJ, like the TV pundits, to announce "the truth" instantaneously. That's not how careful law enforcement investigations work. It takes time, and sometimes takes the media spotlight being off the situation before people are willing to talk.

      And if you're going to bring criminal or civil charges, you often do not want to reveal all your information and the sources in advance. In Ferguson, I would be very worried that anyone who talked with the FBI would then be targeted for retaliation. So the Feds need to proceed methodically, and be pretty guarded about what they release publicly.

  •  Darren Wilson indicted, feds write stern letter? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, Superpole

    If McCulloch is so stupid as to thwart an indictment, then Holder has much more to work with. The "how stupid" question will be answered soon. After dragging it out for as long as he dare.

    This is the same shit, just a different day.

    This will be solved by the people. It's called voting. This is the only thing that will end the Ferguson PD madness.

    Holder has already gotten six other people to sue Ferguson City and Police and St Louis County for civil rights violations. This is probably the best approach that Holder can take. The suit specifically uses the words found in the US Code.

    “In militaristic displays of force and weaponry,” police in Ferguson, Mo., used “excessive force, under color of law” to deprive them of their civil rights, the federal lawsuit alleges.
    The fact that they claim $40,000,000 in damages is important. This would bankrupt the city, county, and harm the state. They also named one cop, Justin Cosma. who was one of the assholes roughing up McDonalds customers. The PD would have to pay for this cop's stupidity, too. Perhaps that's what prompted Ferguson Police "Chief" Thomas "no racial problems here" Jackson to attempt to issue a selective non-apology the day the suit was filed.

    The suit also alleged that racial slurs were repeated by many cops every day covered by the lawsuit (Aug 11-13). All I heard on the TeeVee machine was a lot of yelling "animals". I'm sure they bleeped out most of it.

    This combination of six individuals seems to cover all the requirements to file a civil rights lawsuit.

    Still, the result can't be much more than a big fine and another stern letter.

    Wilson is indicted and the court case drags out for, say, 5 years. Due to the Petite policy, if Holder decides to go that way, the feds can do next to nothing about Mike Brown's case. The eventual verdict (after endless appeals and a mistrial or two) doesn't change that. If Wilson is indicted and goes to trial, Holder has little choice but to sit and wait.

    The penalties are pretty much useless. If history continues, the feds get to write a stern letter and insist on policy changes. The PD rewrites their policies and then continues to ignore them. If the feds decide to monitor the police, about all they can do is write another stern letter. It took decades for Los Angeles, for example, to make substantial improvements. And we saw how these improvements worked out for Occupy protestors.

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 01:35:10 PM PDT

    •  Which in turn could be a big problem, because the (0+ / 0-)

      2016 election will likely end with some other person being named Attorney General in January of 2017.

      What if (gawds forbid) some lunatic Republican like Rand Paul were to somehow end up President?

      No further action would mark the end of any such Ferguson investigation or prosecutions.

      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:14:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Doubt Ferguson Protestors and the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, GrumpyOldGeek

      lawyers representing the six people suing the FPD and St. Louis County are going to allow the case against Wilson to drag out for five years.

      Regardless, it's easy to see the case going beyond two years, which means Holder will no longer be AG-- and who knows what the next AG will do or not do.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 03:31:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's two separate cases (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superpole

        One case is charging the cop with a crime. Murder, manslaughter, whatever. That's only of the county DA and the Grand Jury hands down an indictment.

        Missouri has jurisdiction for such charges. I would expect the state to drag this out for as long as possible. Five years might be underestimated.

        But Holder has some options here. He may not have jurisdiction for crimes against the state, but he does have jurisdiction for crimes such as obstructing justice and perjury, for two. Holder also has more and better evidence. FPD didn't even bother to do any interviews of witnesses at first. Holder got that done big-time. And Missouri can't get away with biased evidence and corrupt witnesses. Even conspiracy isn't going to work.

        The other case is about six people and the Ferguson PD and others. This isn't about the cop or Mike Brown at all. It's a federal civil rights violation charge (among other charges relating to bad police behavior). Holder can begin prosecuting this as soon as he's ready. He has to be thorough, though. You and I can expect the RWNJ zombies to hire the best lawyers and judges they can buy.

        So nobody needs to wait. Technically, anyway. But there might be reasons to delay long enough for the lies and fake evidence to show up. Then Holder wins quickly and penalties will be harsh.

        My take.

        "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:33:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  But what about immunity defenses? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, jbsoul, Eric Nelson, kovie

    In a New York Times opinion piece last week, Erwin Chemerinsky explained that recent Supreme Court rulings have made it almost impossible to hold police departments, municipalities and even individual officers responsible for their actions.

    I work with a couple of lawyers (not litigation attorneys) who saw Chemerinsky speak on this topic in July, and they were aghast at what he had to say. It's such a travesty that our justice system would allow even Darren Wilson to escape accountability.

    •  Even if federal laws were violated? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      where4art

      Perhaps they could get local immunity, but federal? That would be horrible.

      "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." - Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

      by kovie on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 04:06:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'm not a lawyer, but (0+ / 0-)

        Chemerinsky is; he's founding dean and a professor at the UC Irvine law school and the author of a new book coming out later this month, called The Case Against the Supreme Court. In that piece I linked to, he discusses certain recent Supreme Court decisions, saying:

        In recent years, the court has made it very difficult, and often impossible, to hold police officers and the governments that employ them accountable for civil rights violations. This undermines the ability to deter illegal police behavior and leaves victims without compensation. When the police kill or injure innocent people, the victims rarely have recourse.
        … and he specifically ties that to the Ferguson murder case.
  •  its almost like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Chi

    the cons have gotten their way and we have reverted back to the 50's & 60's before the civil rights legislation.

  •  I don't know if Missouri can produce justice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Eric Nelson, LinSea, Chi

    for Brown, Powell, or the community.
    But I would guess that the federal presence can make it very uncomfortable for any local foot draggers. if they obstruct or delay further, they could wind up in a civil soup, class action, or other judicial redress mechanism, and the oppressive petty pilfering court system can go too. the police force should be flattened to the level ground. and this isn't the place, time or situation to pull any punches at all. murder squads in uniform is what they are. assaulting a whole community; harassing, discriminating, fining, rousting, shooting, holding hostage. tear gas, false arrests, including press, rubber bullets, intimidation, threats, and lies,lies, lies.

    for the love of humanity please protect the light in all that may glow and try not to make anyone else's path more cruel than it would be on its own.

    by renzo capetti on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 02:23:53 PM PDT

  •  Ah Petite Policy; I've been talking with friends.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, kovie, LinSea

    ..who have questions about overlapping jurisdiction on this. I suppose it stems from the many police TV series where there is the standard (clichéd even) arguments between various police forces; the "whose in charge here " narrative. I was unaware of the Petite Policy and had no good answer to it.

    But with regard to the Michael Brown killing, the Petite Policy very much directs Justice to await the results of the state proceeding (though the Petite Policy "applies only to charging decisions; it does not apply to pre-charge investigation." Thus, as we have seen, Attorney General Holder has gone forward with the federal investigation on the Michael Brown killing.

     - emphasis added

    Also too the real concern of a non-public-meeting once -a-week- grand jury and how the defense could possibly reverse engineer their defense on the prosecutions questions as this slowly unfolds, especially with virtually non-existent incident reporting

    So it is very good to here that the DOJ is moving forward on the pre-investigation part of it as you've explained.

    And this:

    There has been an obvious and continuing practice of constitutional violations by local law enforcement and Justice should be moving NOW on these points.
    ..is turning out to be a problem way beyond Ferguson, Missouri. I hope the DOJ expands their investigations accordingly on this too

    Thx Armando - for the answers and update today

  •  I don't know about the rest of you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    But when I voted for Obama I voted for an activist progressive agenda smartly and aggressively promoted and to the extent possible enacted. Although I'm glad that he and not the other guys won and obviously he's done some really great things, we didn't really get that, did we? Pity. We badly need it.

    Kudos on looking into this matter but boo on the slowness and timidity. You either work hard to fix it or you're wasting everyone's time.

    Obviously, that makes me a "hater".

    "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." - Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

    by kovie on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 04:03:25 PM PDT

    •  "Slowness and timidity" can = "careful" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman, orwelldesign

      People criticizing DOJ for not moving fast enough in a public way may not understand how thorough and careful a Federal investigation has to be, especially in a case like this with huge political overtones and undertones. You do not want to make a big splash and then not be able to support it.

      Just like the MH17 investigation (which has publicly gone silent, though the Dutch and Malaysian investigators are undoubtedly working diligently out of public view), the lack of public pronouncements should not be taken as evidence that nothing is happening. It can take a year or more to investigate and bring charges.  

    •  I don't think it makes you a hater. At times (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      during the last 5 years, I felt bitterness, anger, cynical, and doubt because it seemed the federal cases in Maricopa County were going nowhere.

      Many individuals settled in court on their own without a single verdict in any of the cases being tried.

      Under 42 USC 14141, the DOJ was looking for:

      "declaratory and equitable relief to eliminate a pattern or practice of law enforcement officer conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States."

      Convicting individuals which seems to be what most commenters here want, is a different case. It wouldn't do much to end the civil rights violations either. The DOJ concentrated its efforts on ending the practices that violate the Constitution by ordering changes to the law enforcement agencies.

      What bogged the DOJ down?

      • The Chief Justice for the US District Court for Arizona, John Roll, was assassinated in Tucson in January 2011. As major media reported at the time, he had faced death threats because of a case he decided in favor of a group of immigrants.

        http://www.azcentral.com/...

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

      • the case against Joe Arpaio, in his capacity as Sheriff of Maricopa County was handled by Roll's successor, Chief Justice Roslyn Silver, who resigned a year ago
      • By that time, there were 6 vacancies on the court which has 13 seats. The case against the MCSO floundered while the Republicans in the Senate held up all of Obama's judicial nominees. They were finally confirmed in May.

      The judge trying a separate case that focused on profiling decided in favor of the plaintiffs and a comprehensive judgment order is in place with an independent monitor implementing a long list of very specific remedies.

      I learned that bigotry and racism aren't illegal in the US. They're considered viable as a political position and the element that supports racist law enforcement is dedicated and motivated to an extent that Democrats don't match.
      Sheriff Joe sometimes speaks the lingo of the sovereign citizen (like Cliven Bundy) and he is the elected leader of a small army. My guess from what I've read, is that the PD in Ferguson is infected with the same type of ideology. These people don't gravitate to the positions they hold casually. They have a purpose.

  •  Why don't the GOP or the Dems attack Police Unions (0+ / 0-)

    Like they attack Teacher Unions. What about the tenure of all those bad cops. If you add in the police own admission of failures plus, the complaints from the public you would think there would be more jobs opening. If cops were working under the same standards as a teacher they would be fire faster than their shell casing could hit the floor. But, cops are free to kill unarmed kids, Wow! But, if a teacher yells at a kid they get fired. You would think if any cop shoots any unarmed suspect they would be a bad judge of character to do the job. But, that cop unlike the teacher fired for yelling at the kids, will get a accommodation award. Only in America we could get something so, wrong and backwards. America Police Standards are too low to set as a good example for the world to follow. The Police Unions is the real problem.

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