Lynch Mob: DOJ Ferguson Unit Has Tainted Past

Investor's Business Daily, August 22, 2014

The Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division that is handling the shooting of Michael Brown was once smacked down by a federal judge for gross prosecutorial misconduct.

Demonstrating the same relentless pursuit of truth and justice that occurred after the New Black Panther voter-intimidation case or the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Fast and Furious, Attorney General Eric Holder and his team of leftist lawyers and ideologues have descended on Ferguson, Mo., to assure, as Gov. Jay Nixon put it, justice is done for Brown and his family.

Justice for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson is another thing, as it was for five members of the New Orleans Police Department. They faced federal charges for, and were convicted of, shooting suspected looters on New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The presumption of innocence was also cast aside in that case, and the end of finding the officers guilty of civil rights violations justified any means.

As Hans von Spakovsky has documented in National Review Online, antics by Justice Department lawyers from the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division included: leaking supposedly secret grand jury proceedings and conducting a PR campaign to influence the jury and inflame public opinion that included blogging on the website of the Times-Picayune newspaper.

The defendants justifiably petitioned for a new trial and on Nov. 26, 2012, in a scathing ruling unnoticed by the media, Louisiana Federal District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt reversed the convictions of the defendants, citing the “perfidy” and “skullduggery” of the Justice Department attorneys.

Spakovsky points out that in his order, Englehardt–who labeled the department’s misconduct “grotesque”–noted the website postings “mocked the defense, attacked the defendants and their attorneys, were approbatory of the United States Department of Justice, declared the defendants obviously guilty, and discussed the jury’s deliberations.”

On Sept. 17, 2013, Englehardt ordered a new trial, noting that federal “prosecutors, acting with anonymity, used social media to circumvent ethical obligations, professional responsibilities, and even to commit violations of the Code of Federal Regulations.”

In their words and actions, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Eric Holder have similarly declared to the world their belief that Wilson is obviously guilty–and not of defending himself from a physical assault by someone who allegedly had just committed the strong-arm robbery of a convenience store, but of shooting an innocent teen out for a stroll.

As pointed out by J. Christian Adams, who now writes for PJ Media and once worked in Justice’s Voting Rights Section, many of the Justice Department attorneys who participated in the New Orleans fiasco still work in the Civil Rights Division and the “anti-police biases of lawyers in this unit have resulted in gross prosecutorial misconduct against police officers.”

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