No charges, no surprises, no decency in Jamar Clark case

But there’s lots of hypocrisy

MellaneoussquareDid U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger actually say his “heart goes out” to the Clark family, and that he has a son near Clark’s age, after making sure that the law allowed Minneapolis cops to get away with his murder?

Few were surprised by the announcement last week that the U.S. government, represented by Luger’s office, the (in)Justice Department, and the FBI concluded that the coldblooded shooting death of Jamar Clark by Minneapolis Officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg did not constitute a civil rights violation in the eyes of the law of the land.

This leads reasonable people to conclude that the law is farcical, full of hypocrisy, and enforced only against the poor and powerless.

And U.S. Attorney Luger doesn’t have a heart. Just ask the local Somali community, whose young people he has been harassing and victimizing. He sure doesn’t see his son in those Black immigrant Muslim young people. You can’t work at the highest levels of U.S. government and make coldblooded decisions like this one and have a heart.

Luger and the FBI and the Justice Department, while they may look the part with their suits and air of self-righteousness, lack a sense of decency. Incredibly, they crowded into Mr. Clark’s father’s house to deliver the bad news.

Who but the devil’s minions with no sense of shame would visit the family of the dead young man to give them the bad news that they helped orchestrate? What nerve! What shamelessness! Thugs behave better than this!

Luger, in deciding not to indict Ringgenberg and Schwarze, made it clear that the way the law is written they simply didn’t have a case they could take to the jury because of “substantial evidentiary requirements.” This is an aberration from normal criminal procedures in which suspects are charged based on simply being accused or on the say-so of witnesses, and cases are pleaded out or a jury is left to decide.

According to section 242 in the federal civil rights code, to prove that someone has been deprived of their Constitutional right, the State must somehow show that the person or persons depriving someone of life acted “willfully.” On its face this is foolish — of course those cops willfully killed Clark and willfully lied about it and willfully covered it up. They could have just as easily chosen to back off, or they could have left him alone in the first place.

According to the U.S. attorney, he and his office were up against the highest legal standard in criminal law.

Not only, according to the U.S. attorney, did they have to prove that Jamar’s killing was an intentional “willful” act, but they also had to meet the standard of “reasonableness.” The cops can’t be indicted according to the law because killing Clark, according to the U.S. attorney, is what “reasonable” cops would have done.

In other words, the law is designed to make it nearly impossible to indict police for violence and criminality inflicted on the citizenry. They don’t have this much trouble filling the jails with primarily Black and poor people, because the laws and standards of law that apply to them are much less stringent.

Last week’s decision exposes the hypocrisy of the idea that the government’s first responsibility is to its people. In the U.S., its first responsibility is to the rich and powerful and their protectors: the police. And the police kill and maim on occasion to remind folks, especially Black and poor folks, of their “place” in this society.

Probably the biggest surprise in this decision is that some people allowed themselves to be surprised by the U.S. government’s whitewash and rubber-stamping of this crime. It was also shocking that in the midst of rendering what was bound to be an unjust and unsatisfying decision, the U.S. attorney actually said it would be “unethical to indict.”

Clearly Luger doesn’t have a grasp on the meaning of the word “ethical.” Because if he did, he would have recognized the irony of making this statement when at the very same time in the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis he is prosecuting three Somali young men primarily because of their thoughts.

His office brought forth the flimsy case of providing material support to terrorism against 10 Somali youth. And speaking of just throwing charges against the wall for good measure, the loving U.S. attorney tossed in conspiracy to murder, which if convicted carries a life term.

Only the seriously naïve and misled would actually think that Feds were going to ride to the rescue. Who do folks think are in charge of this corrupt system? The hard lesson, or better yet the reminder this decision provides is that the U.S. government and its laws are not your friends.

Justice, then peace.


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