Patterico's Pontifications

7/11/2013

Did DoJ Foment Unrest Over the Lack of Prosecution of George Zimmerman?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:32 am

Not sure what to make of this story alleging that the DoJ might have had a hand in spurring protests seeking to have George Zimmerman prosecuted.

Here is the story, which is actually mostly old news:

According to documents released earlier today by the anti-corruption, conservative organization Judicial Watch, a little-known division of the Justice Department sent agents to the central Florida port city of Sanford in order to deal with community relations after Trayon Martin’s fatal shooting last year.

“Records obtained by Judicial Watch in response to local, state and federal public records requests show that the so-called peacekeepers are part of a large and growing division within DOJ called the Community Relations Service (CRS),” the group reported.

“Though CRS purports to spot and quell racial tensions nationwide before they arise, the documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the group actively worked to foment unrest, spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel and hotel rooms to train protestors throughout Florida. The peacekeepers also met with officials of the Republican National Convention, scheduled for several months later in Tampa, to warn them to expect protests in connection with Martin’s death.”

But John Hinderaker doesn’t see much of a story:

Given the organization’s mission, it is not surprising that it had some involvement in the Trayvon Martin demonstrations. Theoretically, CRS is supposed to work with both sides to channel protests, etc., in a peaceful and constructive rather than a violent direction. Actually, the story that Judicial Watch reported today is not new, as JW acknowledged. It was first reported, more than a year ago by the Orlando Sentinel and Keith Koffler. In fact, most of what Judicial Watch said today had already been reported by Koffler.

. . . .

So, do we have on our hands here another Obama administration scandal, featuring Eric Holder’s DOJ? To me, it doesn’t look that way. I don’t doubt that the DOJ employees worked hand in glove with the protesters, but there is little reason to doubt that they at least purported to carry out their statutory peacemaking role by working with all parties. And there is no reason to think that the pro-Trayvon demonstrations wouldn’t have happened, or would have been significantly different, without whatever aid they got from DOJ.

There may be little evidence of that, but it sure would fit the Eric Holder M.O. In any event, I agree with this:

My overriding reaction is, why are we taxpayers paying for a goofy mediation service within the Department of Justice? Is it conceivable that this unit does any measurable good, or any good that couldn’t be at least duplicated by any private mediation service? I don’t think so. When the sequester was in the news, we kept hearing about vital governmental services that were at risk: No more meat inspectors! No more air traffic controllers! How about no more DOJ employees who do this for a living?

Ultimately, though, the real problem in this case is not the DoJ, but the officials who pressured the police chief to bring charges he believed were not warranted.

It is impossible to predict what a jury will do, but this sure feels like an acquittal. The people responsible for prosecuting George Zimmerman should be ashamed.

Your Zimmerman comment thread is here.


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