Either there has been a huge increase in discrimination by law enforcement during the Obama administration, or Obama is targeting law enforcement for politically motivated reasons. In the current era of heightened sensitivity to racism and police brutality, it makes no sense that abuses by law enforcement are increasing. The U.S. Department of Justice’s sudden flurry of investigations finding massive amounts of discrimination and abuses by police agencies around the country is coincidentally occurring at the same time the U.S. Department of Justice is undergoing a highly publicized Congressional investigation into Fast and Furious.
Law enforcement is a natural target for the left, which often seems to prefer criminals over the police. Alleging vague charges of racism or racial profiling is becoming one of the most prevalent ways the left dishonestly demonizes and discredits its opponents. Made-up charges of racism are difficult to defend against, because almost any difference in treatment between two people of different ethnic backgrounds can be blamed on racism with no way of proving otherwise. You cannot get inside someone’s head to prove that he had no racist thoughts; it is one person’s word against another’s.
This latest round of politically motivated investigations comes on the heels of the Obama administration suing Arizona, Utah, Alabama and South Carolina over their tough new laws against illegal immigration. Those lawsuits are mostly based on unfounded grounds of racial profiling; Arizona’s law specifically includes a provision prohibiting racial profiling. The constant barrage of lawsuits is costing taxpayers exorbitant amounts of money. They’re paying double; once to fund Obama’s lawsuits through their federal taxes and again to defend against the lawsuits and pay any penalties through their local taxes.
The flurry of attacks on law enforcement agencies began last week on December 15, when the DOJ announced vague racial profiling accusations against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The DOJ claims that the agency racially profiles more than any other police agency around the country. However, it refuses to release the “statistical study” on which the findings are supposedly based. It is widely thought that Arpaio was targeted in retaliation for enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Since Arizona has such a high percentage of Latinos, it is easy to make people think there could be discrimination. The DOJ stripped the agency of its ability to screen for illegal immigrants through the 287(g) program and is ordering Arpaio to make numerous changes, such as setting up policies against discrimination. This is redundant considering there are so many policies, rules, and laws prohibiting discrimination at every level of government.
The next day, on December 16, the DOJ released a report claiming there was evidence of “biased policing” by the Seattle Police Department, and that officers routinely and illegally use excessive force during arrests. The DOJ ordered the agency to implement onerous new regulations and procedures.
This week, on December 19, the DOJ issued a scathing report alleging numerous civil rights violations against Latinos by the East Haven Police Department in Connecticut. Six to 15 police officers may be arrested for civil rights violations.
On Tuesday, the DOJ ordered the town of Rome, Wisconsin to pay a police officer $351,891 because the police department allegedly discriminated against her because she was female. The DOJ filed a complaint in federal court alleging the town violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The DOJ is currently investigating the Miami Police Department over allegations of racial discrimination in the shootings of seven black men. The Meridian Police Department and Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Center are under investigation by the DOJ for alleged discriminatory treatment of three black youths.
There are likely more investigations on the way. The DOJ is considering launching a civil rights investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico, which some believe is retaliation over Mayor Richard Berry requiring the police to check the citizenship of everyone arrested. The ACLU and other activist groups are demanding a federal investigation of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department over the shooting of a black army veteran. At least two dozen members of Congress are demanding that the DOJ investigate the New York Police Department over allegedly profiling Muslims.
This is not right. The federal government should not be suing local governments. It is trampling on the rights of states and localities to conduct their own business. The Constitution grants the federal government very limited powers; the Tenth Amendment states that all powers not specifically assigned to the federal government shall be left to the states. The federal government is micromanaging local law enforcement. If there really are problems with law enforcement, Congress or local legislatures should look into them, not the partisan Executive Branch.
The Obama administration knows that investigations and lawsuits will tie up the resources of smaller law enforcement agencies so they will be unable to accomplish much else. Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not have anymore resources left to enforce illegal immigration laws and other laws the left would prefer to see ignored.
The DOJ is in no place to be criticizing other law enforcement agencies. 60 members of Congress are calling for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over Fast and Furious, and 75 have signed onto a House resolution vote of no confidence. But by turning the focus towards alleged wrongdoing from large police agencies like the Seattle Police Department and popular Sheriff Joe Arpaio, there will be less media coverage and public scrutiny of Fast and Furious.
Launching dubious investigations for political reasons must be curbed. The U.S. is going bankrupt. Obama is using money we don’t have to attack targets that will earn him favor with his far left supporters. As the first black president, Obama should be moving the country in a direction away from racism. Instead, he is stirring it up. Congress should expand its investigation of Fast and Furious to this transparent attempt by the Obama administration to deflect away from it.