FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency lies and is not to be trusted. For decades ordinary citizens have questioned actions by our nation’s primary law enforcement agency. Several recent stories inspired more questions, such is the unlawful surveillance of Martin Luther King. Comey was speaking at Georgetown University when he claimed that racial bias by law enforcement is not intentional, it is ‘unconscious.’ Really?
Mr. Comey is a white Republican appointed to his post by the President. He has never been forced to live in an inner city environment where poverty is rampant, and black men and women fear and distrust the police who all too frequently harass them purely for the color of their skin. But Comey didn’t stop there; he denied that racially motivated action by law enforcement is on the rise. I guess he doesn’t read the papers.
He dug himself into a deeper pit as he was obviously defending the actions of the police in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland. He claimed that when crime in one area is committed primarily by a single group, officers become cynical and act on suspicion before ascertaining the facts.
Several civil rights groups immediately responded. They denounced the disproportionate number of black and brown men and women who are daily harassed, physically attacked, arrested, and even murdered by law enforcement. They pointed to frequent use of excessive force not experienced by the white community. Their anger was directed at the obviously racist comments by the Director who placed the majority of the problem on black and Hispanic communities, who fail to address the violence in their communities which encourages discrimination by law enforcement.
The Fraternal Order of Police, a group which represents law enforcement across the nation, took exception to Comey’s remarks. The generalization of some 750,000 police across the nation is unacceptable.
This is an enormous problem exacerbated by poor training and poor supervision. In a single case in Denver, Colorado, a patrol officer was removed from working on the street after 16 complaints and two trials which cost the city over one million dollars. He was not fired. What is the justification for allowing any member of law enforcement to retain their position after multiple complaints of brutality by the public?
Even when eyewitnesses support victims of crime, police often fail to take immediate action if the victim appears to be other than an average white American. Thursday an Arab-American man was shopping at a Kroger Grocery Store in Dearborn, Michigan. His young daughter was with him and her head was covered in a headscarf known as a ‘hijab.’ Two white males were passing by and began uttering racial slurs, references to ISIS, and shouting ‘why don’t you go back home.’ One of the men began punching the man; he fought back and bloodied one of the men. Then an employee of Kroger came out of the store and held the Arab-American while the two continued to punch him.
A witness watched the entire incident. Police were called; it took them nearly 20 minutes to arrive although the police station is only a couple of blocks away. No arrests were made; an investigation is proceeding.
Tuesday in Pasco, Washington, at least three police officers shot and killed a Hispanic man; he had been throwing rocks at them. One of the officers said that they attempted to taser the man, but it had no effect. The rocks must have been very lethal, they had no choice but to use their weapons of mass destruction. The officer’s supervisor said that they will investigate whether or not he had these very dangerous, life-threatening rocks in his possession when he was killed; he had no other weapons. The entire incident was caught on film.
We are a nation which has different laws for different people. Comey is unqualified to hold his position; he is completely out of touch with the American people.
Commentary by James Turnage