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E D I T O R I A L and O P I N I O N

3/9/2015

Ferguson Report Reflects and Exacerbates DOJ Retaliation
By Jerry Brewer
Within just simply 25 days of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a Ferguson
police department (FPD) officer; Attorney General Eric Holder quickly initiated an investigation against
the FPD by his DOJ Civil Rights Division.
The final report issued on March 4, 2015 described the investigation as “initiated under the pattern-or
practice” provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C…
By the second day after the shooting at least two dozen businesses were damaged and looted as well as
fires set. Thirty-two people were arrested and two officers reported injured. Two days later President
Barack Obama promised a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. There appeared to be a no
good faith nod to the appropriate local and state responding police jurisdiction(s) that are tasked by law
to police and investigate death/crime(s). On August 13 police were using tear gas in clashes with violent
protesters.
On the next day after complaints of heavy-handed police tactics against violent protesters and
firebombs, Governor Jay Nixon put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security; led by Captain
Ron Johnson; described in the media as “an African American.” On August 17, AG Holder orders the
Justice Department to conduct “its own autopsy” on Michael Brown.

3/9/2015

A St. Louis County grand jury began hearing evidence in the case just 11 days after the shooting. Very
few facts had been released prior to the grand jury inquiry, and a multitude of versions, opinions, media
and other pundit’s acerbic comments placed their own spin and wild guesses to the highly fuled volatile
incident.
Joining the undisciplined and second-guessing fray; President Barack Obama, as well as Attorney
General Eric Holder again entrenched themselves into a local state’s criminal case without even a
modicum of facts to judge the preliminary aspects of sworn law enforcement’s duty to investigate
crimes as they are mandated to do. There appeared to be no show of support or confidence in local/state
court’s decisions or juries; let alone what local or state law enforcement investigations revealed.
The Trayvon Martin case in Florida went through much the same maneuvering. Many wanted the police
department and Chief of police to stand down. They did not want the county of the jurisdiction to
prosecute; they wanted a state-wide prosecutor. They wanted independent investigation(s); a change of
venue. They wanted federal intervention. Much of their accusations and demands; much like the Brown
case, were made well in advance of the factual evidence of the cases presented.
After six (6) months of DOJ investigation, AG Holder’s office report on the Michael Brown case
revealed “approximately 100 person-days onsite in Ferguson.” They claimed to have reviewed 35,000
pages of police records; “interviewed dozens of people charged with local offenses;” among other
claims of thoroughness.
The report included, “we found ‘many’ Ferguson police officers and other City employees to be
‘dedicated’ public servants striving each day to perform their duties lawfully and with respect for all
members of the Ferguson community. The importance of their often-selfless work cannot be
overstated.”
The report detailed DOJ reviewing physical, ballistic, forensics, and crime scene evidence, autopsy
reports; as well as an independent autopsy conducted by a “U.S. Department of Defense Armed Force’s
medical examiner.” They reviewed Officer Darren Wilson’s personnel records; audio and video
recordings, and Internet postings. They reported interviewing 100 “purported eye witnesses and
canvassed more than 300 residents.”
This additional second massive and expensive investigation into a small Missouri city’s own crime
investigation by the federal government, apparently concluded what local investigation and the Grand
Jury’s findings and conclusions were.
The Justice Department formally closed its investigation declining to bring criminal charges for the
killing of Michael Brown. “Wilson's actions do not constitute prosecutable violations of federal civil
rights law. There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated subjective
belief that he feared for his safety" the Justice Department reported.
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In the DOJ’s 102 page report of March 4, 2015, the accusations curiously shifted from former officer
Darren Wilson; whose police career apparently was destroyed even with the court and federal
government’s dismissal; to “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on
revenue rather than by public safety needs.”
The report and costly investigation became an attack on, “…this emphasis on revenue has compromised
the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional
policing and has also shaped its municipal court, leading to procedures that raise due process concerns
and inflict unnecessary harm on members of the Ferguson community.”
The report and deviation from the once described illegal criminal killing of an unarmed black man by a
white police officer with a premeditated design; quickly became a purported city’s improper collection
efforts to support city expenditures to maintain full city services.
This, apparently a city operating in a financial cut-back environment with limited resources and
desperately trying to get citizens to obey and honor traffic citation obligations; city ordinances; fines;
and related court measures (such as warrants for arrest/driver license suspensions) for citizens to comply
with arrearages and those ignoring related financial penalties. The extensive damage to the city and
businesses by the criminal elements that started fires and other acts of destruction, has cause increased
financial distress for the city, as well as its law abiding citizens.

To those of us that have administered and led law enforcement agencies in multiple states with high
majority cultural diversity and high violent crime rates; such as Ferguson- one must ask:
1-“Did the DOJ or anyone else look at the totality of all these crime arrests by officers; their issued
traffic violations; and other enforcement action and see what the courts did in terms of successful
prosecution or not?
2-Were there high rates of cases or traffic citations dismissed because the police did not know the law or
made bad cases or were essentially not trained sufficiently to do their jobs in enforcing the law?

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The clearing of cases by arrest and conviction and percentages of property recovery rates; and or
solvability rates of crime with successful prosecution, is obviously a measure of effective “enforcement”
in a community. To simply say that the measures are inappropriate or too harsh for a racial minority, is
simply without merit; as well as not fair to those that obey the law and comply with their necessary
obligations.
This especially true with Ferguson’s crime index 62% higher than the Missouri average and the
Missouri crime index 15% higher than the National average. The Ferguson property crime rate is 69%
higher than the Missouri average and the Missouri property crime rate is 14% higher than the National
average. The Ferguson violent crime rate is 10% higher than the Missouri average and the Missouri
violent crime rate is 17% higher than the National average.
The police of course also have duties far beyond enforcement actions. It is equally as important for a
police department to have a good internal and external culture that is focused not only on the needs of
the local government, but also the community as a whole. Effective partnerships are necessary at all
levels. Consistent task-related training and professional development is a necessity to continue to
upgrade skills to better serve the community, as well as to protect the police officers in their most
dangerous jobs.
Attempts to fundamentally transform law enforcement and essentially handcuffing police officers that
are comprised of men and women of a myriad of race and color throughout this nation; is a dangerous
precedent. These are people sworn by oath to protect and serve and on the front lines of life and death
scenarios daily.
Police are subsequently placed in a dark light by these actions and arbitrary assumptions and decisions at
the highest levels, and by some in the media to promote controversy and tease for ratings. This destroys
a system of justice. The message is that police can’t be trusted- put cameras on them! We don’t believe
them; they are racists; they are liars, and they are haters. In court, police testimony is generally
considered in the most favorable light.
There is apparently a major failure at least at the Attorney General’s position to know and monitor the
numbers and reasons why so many police have been killed in the line of duty in a given year of service
alone.
There are those that believe and have shown that they do not have to abide by police authority and the
rule of law, and some of those engage in criminal behavior in defiance and a sense of anarchy in protest
about justice and the law of the land. Some people just simply do not want to be told what do and reject
any lawful authority.
There are many that are quick to minimize some threats made to some police officials at a scene.
Weapons such as firearms and knives are obvious threats and require little discussion. However, to those
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of us that have worked homicide scenes, we also know that a human being is NOT “simply
UNARMED” if he or she has arms and legs. Homicides by physical beatings; head stomping; one-punch
knock outs, and related acts of assault/battery occur far more than most people realize. And these are not
necessarily martial arts skills.
Officer(s) on calls for service and at crime scenes are generally taking official action and are there to
enforce the law and take suspects into custody. They expect “voluntary compliance” so no force other
than a command is needed pursuant to their authority. The suspect does not get the luxury of debating
the decision at that point or resisting with or without violence. A court of law will determine his guilt or
innocence, not the officer.
Also, many of those arrested (as contained in the DOJ report) are for interfering, distracting, harassing
or otherwise impeding the officer in the performance of their duties at a scene in which the officer must
stay focused on the particular suspect and not have to worry about what others are doing around him.
.Those that want to film an incident should do so away from the immediate area of the officers so
officers do not have to focus or watch what they may do beyond such actions.
If a suspect does not comply during an arrest, a force continuum matrix is used. The usual sequence is
first a command to comply. A hands-on act follows to take control. If the suspect is combative, an
escalation may involve a sprayed chemical irritant, police baton (as the violence escalates), or a Taser.
At any phase of this resistance and escalation, a law enforcement officer may use deadly force to protect
his own life, or the lives of others from imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death.
Officers are not trained or paid to wrestle, Box, or “wing” the suspect with a firearm. Even shots to the
leg or arms sever major arteries and death may come quickly. Sometimes drug and alcohol influenced
behavior escalates these encounters.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES
United States of America
——————————
jbrewer@cjiausa.us
Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice
International Associates, a global threat mitigation
firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website
is located at www.cjiausa.org BREWER Published archives
TWITTER: CJIAUSA
JERRY BREWER, Sr. BIO

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