It was inevitable that the race hustlers would flock to Ferguson like bluebottle flies when the St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict the Ferguson police officer who, in defense of his life, shot and killed Michael Brown. Indeed, the Rev. Al Sharpton, ever on the scout for a camera, was on his way to Missouri as soon as the prosecutor announced the decision that the police officer would not be the ham sandwich that courthouse folklore says any prosecutor can persuade a compliant grand jury to indict.
President Obama invoked the doctrine of “prosecutorial discretion” in his order to federal prosecutors to leave illegal immigrants alone, and in the Ferguson case the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, invoked discretion of his own. No prosecutor goes to court with an unwinnable case. The evidence was not there to convict Darren Wilson.
The prosecutor gave the grand jurors a glimpse of what happened when Michael Brown, 18, died. The grand jurors, who felt enormous pressure to return an indictment, nevertheless sifted fact from fiction and declined to send the officer to trial. None of the rest of us has had a look at the facts, but have been inundated with accounts that the grand jurors decided included a lot of fiction. A nation of law must respect their decision as responsible and right. So, too, the prosecutor whose job is not to indict whomever he can, but to pursue justice.
The race hustlers are incensed that the grand jurors got to see the evidence, and put Ferguson to the match. Mr. McCulloch is denounced as a racist tool of the power structure, and the hustlers will now attempt to turn young Michael Brown into a martyr and a symbol of an insidious racism they insist motivates Americans. The grand jury’s decision is only incidental to the chaos. Indictment or not, the hustlers were organized to unleash destruction to argue that black Americans cannot obtain justice in America.
These purveyors of racial resentment had three months to polish their false and angry narrative, with the help of a compliant media that feeds on wild sensation. President Obama did little to heal the wounds kept fresh by Mr. Sharpton’s soliloquies before the cameras. Mr. Obama himself sent subtle signals to protest organizers to “stay on course.” He even invited Mr. Sharpton to the White House. He went before the cameras to appeal for calm only minutes after the grand jury’s decision was announced, but by then nobody was listening. It was on with the riot. The television networks split their screens to show the president speaking from his White House podium, adorned with the presidential seal, sharing the screen with rioters smashing automobile windows outside the Ferguson police station.
At least 61 people were arrested during the night of violence, and firefighters battled more than two dozen blazes. Rioters armed with automatic weapons fired on the police and put the torch to police cars. As dawn broke, the smoking ruins sent smoke to soil the morning sky. Many of the torched shops were owned by blacks and others of minority races, including the Ferguson Market and Liquor, the shop that Michael Brown robbed on his way to his fatal exchange with Officer Wilson.
Prosecutor McCulloch gave an extraordinary televised attempt to explain how the grand jury, which consists of nine whites and three blacks, came to dismiss each of five charges. The grand jury had been routinely empaneled months before the shooting. The testimony from some 60 witnesses was riddled with inconsistencies, but the forensic evidence indicated clearly that Officer Wilson, 28, acted in self-defense after the 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound teenager reached inside his police cruiser and punched him repeatedly in the head. The grand jury decided the evidence was persuasive.
When Michael Brown and Darren Wilson crossed paths on a street in Ferguson, a tragedy occurred, but a crime did not. We understand the pain and disappointment of the young man’s parents, who will try for the rest of their lives to find innocent meaning in the tragedy, a search for something to relieve the unfathomable pain of losing a child. We pray that God will heal their hearts. Theirs is the pain and grief that only a heartless hustler would exploit.
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