PRESIDENT OBAMA\’S STATEMENT ON THE GRAND JURY DECISION: AN ANALYSIS

Heather McDonald is a writer, and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

What you are about to read is the first three paragraphs of her take on President Obama\’s comments regarding the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. 

PresidentObama betrayed the nation last night. Even as he went on nationaltelevision to respond to the grand jury\’s decision not to indictFerguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting18-year-old Michael Brown in August, the vicious violence that woulddestroy businesses and livelihoods over the next several hours wasunderway. Obama had one job and one job only last night: to defendthe workings of the criminal-justice system and the rule of law.Instead, he turned his talk into a primer on police racism andcriminal-justice bias. In so doing, he perverted his role as theleader of all Americans and as the country\’s most visible symbol ofthe primacy of the law.

Obamagestured wanly toward the need to respect the grand jury\’s decisionand to protest peacefully. “We are a nation built on the rule oflaw. And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury\’sto make,” he said. But his tone of voice and body languageunmistakably conveyed his disagreement, if not disgust, with thatdecision. “There are Americans who are deeply disappointed, evenangry. It\’s an understandable reaction,” he said. Understandable,so long as one ignores the evidence presented to the grand jury. Thetestimony of a half-dozen black observers at the scene demolished theearly incendiary reports that Wilson attacked Brown in cold blood andshot Brown in his back when his hands were up. Those early witnesseswho had claimed gratuitous brutality on Wilson\’s part contradictedthemselves and were in turn contradicted by the physical evidence andby other witnesses, who corroborated Wilson\’s testimony that Brownhad attacked him and had tried to grab his gun. (Minutes before, thenearly 300-pound Brown had thuggishly robbed a shopkeeper of a box ofcigars; Wilson had received a report of that robbery and adescription of Brown before stopping him.) Obama should have brieflyreiterated the grounds for not indicting Wilson and applauded thedecision as the product of a scrupulously thorough and fair process.He should have praised the jurors for their service and courage infollowing the evidence where it led them. And he should haveconcluded by noting that there is no fairer criminal justice systemin the world than the one we have in the United States.

Instead,Obama reprimanded local police officers in advance for their presumedoverreaction to the protests: “I also appeal to the law enforcementofficials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint inmanaging peaceful protests that may occur. . . . They need to workwith the community, not against the community, to distinguish thehandful of people who may use the grand jury\’s decision as anexcuse for violence . . . from the vast majority who just want theirvoices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities andlaw enforcement interact.” Such skepticism about the ability of thepolice to maintain the peace appropriately was unwarranted at thetime and even more so in retrospect; the forces of law and orderdidn\’t fire a single shot last night. Nor did they inflict injury,despite having been fired at themselves. Missouri governor Jay Nixonhas been under attack for days for having authorized a potentialmobilization of the National Guard-as if the August rioting didn\’tmore than justify such a precaution. Any small business owner facinganother wave of violence would have been desperate for suchprotection and more. Though Nixon didn\’t actually call up the Guardlast night, his prophylactic declaration of a state of emergencyproved prescient.

I urge you to use the link I\’ve provided to read every word of this analysis, because it is so well thought out and makes such important points. It was published on November 25, the day after Mr. Obama spoke  – and trust me when I tell you that, if I had seen it then, I would have posted it immediately.

Then consider, along with me, what kind of a President we have.  What his ingoing attitudes are.  Who he does and does not favor.  And whether he cares about representing all of us, not just some of us.

And, based on those considerations, you might also join me in counting the days until this nightmare of an administration is ended.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *