As the Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings for new Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch and as outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder continues to allocate Department of Justice resources to the situation in Ferguson, former FBI Assistant Director and Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund President Ron Hosko has sent a scathing letter to President Obama detailing the damage done to the relationship between law enforcement and DOJ over the past six years.
"The hyper-politicization of justice issues has made it immeasurably more difficult for police officers to simply do their jobs. The growing divide between the police and the people – perhaps best characterized by protesters in Ferguson, Mo., who angrily chanted, “It’s not black or white. It’s blue!” – only benefits of members of a political class seeking to vilify law enforcement for other societal failures. This puts our communities at greater risk, especially the most vulnerable among us," Hosko wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by Townhall. "Your attorney general, Eric Holder, is chief among the antagonists. During his tenure as the head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Holder claims to have investigated twice as many police and police departments as any of his predecessors. Of course, this includes his ill-timed decision to launch a full investigation into the Ferguson Police Department at the height of racial tensions in that community, throwing gasoline on a fire that was already burning. Many officers were disgusted by such a transparent political maneuver at a time when presidential and attorney general leadership could have calmed a truly chaotic situation."
In Ferguson law enforcement officials are bracing for violence and riots ahead of a Grand Jury decision about whether to prosecute Police Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown. Wilson says he shot Brown in self-defense after Brown went for his gun during a struggle in the police car. According to an official autopsy, Brown was shot at close range and had gun powder residue on his hand, indicating the struggle in the car did in fact happen and that Brown reached for Wilson's gun.
The official county autopsy, which was performed by Dr. Gershom Norfleet, showed Brown was shot in the hand at close range based on the finding of “foreign matter ‘consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm,’” in a wound on Brown’s hand, the Post-Dispatch reports. "[This] guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound,” Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, told the Post-Dispatch.
The official autopsy also “did not support witnesses who have claimed Brown was shot while running away from Wilson, or with his hands up,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. These witness statements would lead protesters to raise their hands in a stance of surrender while facing police during demonstrations, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Brown's being shot in the hand at close range appears to confirm the account Wilson told to investigators—that Wilson and Brown had “struggled for Wilson’s pistol inside a police SUV and that Wilson had fired the gun twice, hitting Brown once in the hand”—a source with knowledge of Wilson’s statements told the Post-Dispatch.
In August, Holder sent Department of Justice officials from the Civil Rights Division and dozens of FBI agents to Ferguson to investigate the case before the official autopsy was conducted and nearly suggested in a statement that Officer Wilson was guilty of a crime before any evidence was produced.
"It won’t be long before the American people turn their attention to other matters. Long after Ferguson is forgotten, police officers across America will still remember the way their senior federal executives turned their back on them with oft-repeated suggestions that race-based policing drives a biased, broken law enforcement agenda," Hosko continued. "As we move forward with the selection and confirmation of a new attorney general, I ask that you personally reengage with the law enforcement community of dedicated and valiant men and women across the country, serving at every level of government. With two years remaining in your presidency, you have an urgent responsibility to correct damage inflicted upon law enforcement and help mend the rift between police and those they protect. The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund will be happy to support any such discussions."
The Grand Jury report and decision from the Michael Brown case in Ferguson is expected to be released any day now.
It should be noted that before becoming President of LELDF, Hosko served as FBI assistant director under Holder until retiring earlier this year.