Annals of the United States of Lyncherdom: the fix is in for the murder of Michael Brown. By now there are six witnesses to the incident. Their stories are all pretty much the same. In the face of this, “Prosecuting Attorney” Robert P. McCulloch, Democrat, is angling for worst person in the world in the year 2014. (Turns out there is quite a bit of dirt in his background, if you believe Wikipedia.)
Turning to the current ongoing scandal, the indictment against McCulloch for malfeasance to date includes:
* Failed to file charges against Wilson, which would not have required the convening of a grand jury;
* Did not propose to the grand jury that Wilson be indicted, which is normally what prosecutors do. Instead he is just dumping all the evidenc in front of them. This amounts to a signal to the grand jury to forego an indictment;
* Permitted Officer Wilson to testify for four hours before the grand jury considering his indictment; very rare.
If there are no qualified attorneys on the grand jury, the non-committal stance of McCulloch’s office could lead to an indictment on charges that do not fit the crime and result in an acquittal on technical grounds. Ordinarily the prosecutor provides guidance in this vein.
I do not believe Mr. McCulloch should have recused himself from the case because his father was a police officer killed in the line of duty. I believe he should just do his fucking job. Everything he has done to date suggests a desire to protect the police miscreants rather than “the people.”
I hope this case doesn’t drop from the national radar, for two reasons. The obvious one is justice in this particular case. The second is that the specifics point to great national issues of race and class. Contrary to President Obama’s emissary Rev. Sharpton, the comatose U.S. Department of Justice, and the somnamblulist Attorney-General Eric Holder, I hope people use this case to raise the broader problems.
Addendum: Related, this column by civil rights veteran Charles Cobb is worth a look. He alludes to the reality that most of the protest around Ferguson has taken the passive form of writing stuff on the Internet, rather than organizing to get people into the street.
A few weeks ago I attended a meeting in downtown D.C. about Ferguson. About fifty people, I was one of two or three whites, and the oldest one there by a good sight. A number of speakers and attendees had their own separate projects. The speakers were eloquent but there seems to have been no organizational follow-up, except some emails reminding me to vote. I’m no big activist, but I can get to meetings and marches with a little prodding. I could even do some work if I thought it would be useful. But it’s mostly been crickets. This has been a wasted opportunity.
Cobb is speaking to a mindset that expects deliverance from above, rather than self-activity. We’ve already seen what sort of help and encouragement we are getting from Democrats, including President Obama’s emissary the Rev. Al Sharpton.
It makes perfect sense to note that without marginal Democrats like the reluctant prosecutor McCulloch, the zombie-like Missouri Governor Nixon, and their political ally Senator Claire McCaskill, the GOP takes over and does unspeakable things. And so it would be. But that makes all the more urgent the construction of an independent politics that can expand as well as providing tactical electoral support for Democrats as the times demand.