A New Non-Scandal Exposed - The DOJ “organized and managed” protests against George Zimmerman
“Did the Justice Department incite the 2012 Trayvon Martin protests?”
That’s the headline of this Yahoo New story detailing the newest wingnut non-scandal - the DOJ organizing or even inciting protests in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman after the latter was initially not arrested. Judical Watch, a right wing organization founded in 1994 by Larry Klayman (now a prominent birther) that once filed 18 different lawsuits against the Clinton Administration alleging all manner of corruption and lost all of them, obtained documents from the DOJ that “(reveal) that a little-known unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Community Relations Service (CRS), was deployed to Sanford, Fla., following the Trayvon Martin shooting to help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.”
That’s a pretty explosive charge. “Not only did we have a public statement by the President that might have tainted the jury pool,” says Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, “but now we find the Department of Justice was involved in, basically, organizing a lynch mob?”
Here’s what Judicial Watch obtained, among 347 pages of Justice Department documents:
March 25–27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
March 25–28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 in Sanford “work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”
March 30–April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
March 30–April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”
April 3–12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
April 11–12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.”
Along with the $5,320 in expenses racked up by the CRS, Judicial Watch also obtained thousands of pages of emails from Florida officials, including an April 16, 2012, email from Miami-Dade County community officer Amy Carswell congratulating the CRS team “for their outstanding and ongoing efforts to reduce tensions and build bridges of understanding and respect in Sanford, Florida.”
The CRS is indeed a little known bureau within the DOJ that was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to act as a peacemaker when racial tensions heat up and cooler heads are needed:
The Community Relations Service is the Department’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.
With passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, CRS also works with communities to employ strategies to prevent and respond to alleged violent hate crimes committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability. CRS facilitates the development of viable, mutual understandings and agreements as alternatives to coercion, violence, or litigation. It also assists communities in developing local mechanisms, conducting training, and other proactive measures to prevent racial/ethnic tension and violent hate crimes committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS does not take sides among disputing parties and, in promoting the principles and ideals of non-discrimination, applies skills that allow parties to come to their own agreement. In performing this mission, CRS deploys highly skilled professional conciliators, who are able to assist people of diverse backgrounds.
That’s exactly what they did last year.
No, Eric Holder - the “black racist” who refused to prosecute the New Black Panther Party after they didn’t intimidate any voters in 2008 - isn’t up to his old tricks of sending his minions like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson down to Florida to stir up trouble. Which is the conclusion Powerline’s John Hinderaker pretty much reached reached yesterday:
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.
El Rushbo sees it differently, calling Holder and the DOJ a “community organizing agitator bunch,” where he once again, takes the opportunity to throw racial bombs:
David Weigel at Slate shows just how much derp there is to this and other right wing reactions to this “scandal”:
Right now the most dedicated critic in what Stranahan calls “Trayvongate” is J. Christian Adams. In 2005 Adams was hired by the Bush administration’s Department of Justice. In 2008 Adams built the DOJ’s case against the very black supremacist, very fringe New Black Panther Party, after two of its members had skulked outside a polling place brandishing nightsticks. (One signal of their strategic intelligence: The polling place they chose was overwhelmingly black and Democratic.) When the Obama administration didn’t pursue the case, Adams quit and started writing and speaking about the racial “politicization” of Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
“One might ponder why the Justice Department Civil Rights Division rushed to Florida in the first place and took sides once the racial furnace was sufficiently stoked,” Adams wrote last month, before the Judicial Watch release. “When Eric Holder’s old pal from D.C. (and a Philadelphia court case), New Black Panther chieftain Malik Zulu Shabazz, called for a 10,000 strong black-male mob to seize George Zimmerman, we knew what was in store.”
A careful reader might notice something here. There was no “10,000 strong black-male mob” that seized George Zimmerman. At the time of the mediations, sure, the going theory in some conservative media was that the DOJ was stepping aside and letting people fly their freak flags. “Maybe what happened here was that somebody came down hard on them,” Glenn Beck told listeners in April 2012, after he noticed the New Black Panthers and Al Sharpton toning down their rhetoric. “It certainly wasn’t the Justice Department, because where was Eric Holder yesterday? Eric Holder was at a fundraiser for Al Sharpton.”
Oops. The DOJ did mediate; the result was peaceful rallies, after which a police chief resigned and Zimmerman was charged. The argument on the right now is that even this mediation tipped the scales.
“The CRS’s participation in these meetings appears to be intimidating,” says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “You got these guys in dark glasses and hats in the back of rooms, I just don’t see that as neutral advocacy. It seems they were focusing the anger of the activists who wanted the prosecution of Zimmerman, and making sure those activists were talking to the right people. If they were impartial, why weren’t they talking to Zimmerman’s family?”
That’s almost an existential question. If you think the government should materialize when some racial controversy starts boiling, you have no problem with the CRS. But if you think Obama and Holder are habitual race-baiters, the CRS’s Sanford adventure fits into a pattern. Instead of nailing the New Black Panthers, Obama’s saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” and Holder’s calling America “a nation of cowards on race.” That’s why they went after Zimmerman. That’s why you can’t trust the Obama regime.