(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Eric Holder deliberately “eclipsed” a report exonerating former Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9, 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown by releasing another report the same day accusing the Ferguson Police Department of racism, a former FBI official told CNSNews.com.
“Eric Holder knew in the fall that there was zero evidence to continue pursuing a case against Darren Wilson. He had seven months to make an announcement," former FBI assistant director Ronald Hosko pointed out.
"But we had nothing but a resounding silence from the attorney general. He was mute all fall and winter while two police officers were gunned down in New York.”
The former FBI official called the attorney general’s delay in clearing Wilson “an appalling lapse not reflective of the intent to pursue justice,” adding that it was no coincidence that Holder released another report on the federal civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Police Department on the same day.
“Holder deliberately gave a 20-minute dissertation on the ‘patterns and practices investigation’ to paint the whole department with the same brush,” Hosko said.
“Michael Brown had committed two felonies – robbing a convenience store and assaulting a police officer sitting in his cruiser” before Wilson shot him in self-defense, Hosko pointed out, adding that dozens of similar encounters with police officers escalate into violence every day.
Instead of waiting for the results of the police and FBI investigations to determine what really happened in Ferguson, Holder, President Obama, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Al Sharpton “fanned the flames” of racial unrest following the shooting, he said.
“But none of them will take responsibility” for the destruction that followed, he added.
Reading both of the DOJ’s two reports on Ferguson is “very enlightening,” added Hosko, who is currently president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. The group provides legal assistance to law enforcement officers who face criminal charges connected with the performance of their official duties.
After interviewing more than 100 purported eyewitnesses and reviewing “physical, ballistic, forensic and crime scene evidence, medical reports, including an independent autopsy performed by the United States Department of Defense Armed Forces Medical Examiner Service, Wilson’s personnel records, audio and video recordings, and internet postings,” DOJ investigators found “no credible evidence to refute Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he was acting in self-defense,” the March 4 report stated.
(See DOJ Darren Wilson.pdf)
DOJ investigators found “no credible witness accounts that state that Brown was clearly attempting to surrender when Wilson shot him…. Although there are several individuals who have stated that Brown held his hands up in an unambiguous sign of surrender prior to Wilson shooting him dead, their accounts do not support a prosecution of Wilson,” the report stated.
Those reports were either “inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence,” “materially inconsistent with that witnesses’ own prior statements,” or were later recanted.
“A large number of witnesses made up a narrative that was favorable to Michael Brown, but it was proven wrong by the facts in the case,” Hosko told CNSNews.com. “A number of witnesses were totally discredited.”
“Other witnesses had very helpful information, but they hid from the police because they were afraid to tell the truth,” he added.
“This is happening across America today, and it’s the most common in high-crime areas where the ‘snitches get stitches’ culture operates. People who need the police’s help the most have the hardest time getting it,” he pointed out.
The other DOJ report, also released on March 4, “tells the story of how the [Ferguson] Police Department was used by others in city government to impose taxes on citizens in the forms of fines for minor offenses far in excess of what was warranted,” Hosko said.
“If that is true, and all indications are that it is, it paints a picture of law enforcement essentially being used as tax collectors at a ridiculously high level. The city government needs reform, but you don’t have to dissolve the police department to do it.”
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson and City Manager John Shaw both resigned shortly after the report was released.
In 2009, Holder accused Americans of being “a nation of cowards” for not wanting to talk about racial issues. CNSNews.com asked Hosko if he thought that Holder was a coward for not using the Ferguson incident to address what Hosko characterized as “the bigger issue of race and criminality in the U.S.”
“I would agree with that assessment,” he replied. “We cannot have a conversation on race and policing without discussing criminality, and why young men of color have so many violent encounters with the police.”
In a December 2014 oped, Hosko wrote that “the reason Officer Wilson intersected Brown had nothing to do with biased policing. The fateful meeting occurred because Brown had just committed a felony by stealing cigars and assaulting the store worker who challenged him.
“The Obama administration knew what it was doing when they invited radical racial activists, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton…to participate in a ‘civil rights’ discussion at the White House. Of course, this discussion resulted not in a call for greater accountability in urban communities, but instead, in additional directives for police, yet again implying that law enforcement created the catastrophe we're experiencing, not criminals.”
“It’s a tough time to be a cop,” Hosko told CNSNews.com, adding that ambushes on police officers were “up significantly last year.”
“But at the end of the day, the Justice Department’s own report justified what Darren Wilson did,” he pointed out. “And Holder has done nothing to make him whole.”