We reported on both Al Sharpton and Eric Holder weighing in this week on their desire to change the threshold to file federal civil rights cases. They were both unhappy that they could not bring civil rights cases over Ferguson and Trayvon Martin. Small things like the facts stood in their way.
Here’s a bit more on what they are actually saying.
We noted previously that Sharpton said this:
Unless we change that legislation, we end up where we are in terms of the Trayvon Martin case,” Sharpton told talk radio host Tom Joyner on Wednesday.
“Clearly, I’m disappointed,” he continued.
“Clearly, I’m sure the family is. But clearly the Justice Department cannot go beyond the laws as is written. As we fight these fights and continue to fight the fights from Staten Island to Ferguson, we must change the threshold that you qualify a federal civil rights case for, or we will keep having these moments of activism that end up with cases being dis[missed].”
But then he said this:
In order to prove civil rights violations, federal prosecutors must prove that defendants targeted victims on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or nationality.
“Can you prove intent? Can you have more than one witness? Can you prove that race was a factor?” Sharpton asked rhetorically.
“If you lower the threshold where you can say if the results are race-based, if in fact there is enough evidence whether there are witnesses or not. Whatever it’s lowered to it makes it possible for what is a state case which clearly Trayvon was tried in the state could also be a federal civil rights case without an impossible bar to reach.”
Did you catch that? Whether there are witnesses or not. If “the results are race-based”. In the Ferguson case, there was absolutely no evidence to suggest race played any role in Darren Wilson’s mind. Yet both Holder and Sharpton found the resultant decision unsatisfactory. If white police officer shoots black suspect, results are race-based, so it must be a federal civil rights violation.
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