We’re not going to roll over’ to Justice Department, he says
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder had decided to tag the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and its police department as racist before the Department of Justice had finished its investigation, Mayor James Knowles said in an exclusive interview Thursday with WND.
“There is no way they were going to hold Darren Wilson to the standard of federal civil rights violations,” Knowles said a day after two Ferguson police officers were shot during more nighttime mayhem in the city. “They said that early on. They kept saying the standard was too high. They said, ‘Don’t get your hopes up.’ And so they didn’t say anything about Darren Wilson, but they came out and stuck it to us. I think those cards were laid back in September.”
Knowles noted that Holder was always quite open about his intention.
“Eric Holder has to be a terrible poker player because he tells his hand before it’s dealt,” he continued. “He came out and said that he was going to come after the Ferguson police department within a couple of days of the shooting.”
The outcome of the pre-investigation designed to determine whether a full-scale probe was even necessary, seemed predetermined, Knowles explained.
“They actually announced the investigation the same day I did my exit interview with them,” he recalled. “They told me it would be at least a week. Eric Holder had made the announcement before I got home from that interview with the DOJ. He had made up his mind he was going to come after us.”
That investigation resulted in a Department of Justice report charging the Ferguson police department with racist practices. Knowles suggested the city of Ferguson is going to fight the federal government’s demand for a consent decree and claimed there were flaws and misinformation in the findings.
“The stories that were recounted by the DOJ in the report … many of those were never verified or got the officer’s side of the story,” he said. “I think that in and of itself is cause for some concern. There’s a lot of that, honestly, and we’re putting together right now [cases] … where there’s very specific information about things they reported in that report they neglected to bring up.”
Asked for an example, Knowles noted the Department of Justice condemns the arrest of a “kid at the school” without mentioning the delinquent in question had pushed a pregnant, African-American principal to the ground in the middle of a fight.
“This principal … is furious right now, that it was portrayed that way.”
Knowles also challenged the idea the Ferguson police were targeting poor neighborhoods to persecute blacks.
“Wherever there is a concentration of poverty there is … a concentration of crime,” he explained. “When there is a concentration of crime, and people want us to do something about crime, that requires us to go out and engage, and be proactive in policing. That requires us to go out making contacts, stopping cars, doing searches, etcetera, to help keep those people safe. This goes back to the fact that there is a lot of data that shows the relationships. [The federal officials] have their own statistics that talk to this, and yet they completely ignored that in the report. They clearly cherry picked statistics.
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