(CNSNews.com) – Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and current president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, said remarks by President Barack Obama and some other federal leaders about the shooting of Michael Brown and the grand jury’s non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson “have only served to divide.”
"The president, the attorney general and many others who presume to be speaking for them have put a rush to judgment ahead of a need to determine, and base words and actions on, the facts,” Hosko said in a statement released Monday evening.
“While the legal system has exonerated Officer Darren Wilson for his split-second decision on that August afternoon, he very much remains a victim of a politicized agenda that deemed him ‘guilty until proven innocent,’” Hosko said, adding that Wilson was “exploited in a cynical effort to turn civilians against cops in fulfillment of an anti-law enforcement agenda.”
“The long-term effects of the politicization of this case are chilling. Statements by people in power, people the citizens should trust and respect, have only served to divide,” Hosko continued.
“Opportunists, knowing, first-hand, absolutely nothing that happened on that Ferguson street on August 9th, have done what many would expect them to do -- find some personal advantage in a crisis.”
In the aftermath of Brown’s death, Eric Holder visited Ferguson and spoke to an outraged crowd in Ferguson, telling them, "I am the attorney general of the United States -- but I am also a black man."
"I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over.... 'Let me search your car.' ... Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me," he said.
"But it can't simply be that we have a conversation that begins based on what happens on Aug. 9, and ends sometime in December, and nothing happens," he continued. "As I was just telling these young people, change is possible. The same kid who got stopped on the New Jersey freeway is now the attorney general of the United States. This country is capable of change. But change doesn't happen by itself."
President Obama also publicly addressed Brown’s death, saying in October that “the anger and the emotion that followed [Brown’s] death awakened our nation once again to the reality that people in this room have long understood, which is, in too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement," adding that “we have to close the justice gap -- how justice is applied, but also how it is perceived, how it is experienced.”
Obama also sent three White House aides to Brown’s funeral.
Hosko warned this kind of divisive rhetoric will only further the gulf between law enforcement officials and those they are supposed to protect.
"Contempt of law enforcement will do little to heal Ferguson or the rift it has highlighted in our country. Likewise, contempt by law enforcement officers for the people they are sworn to serve and protect is myopic and counterproductive,” Hosko said.
“Although it's clear that some who have weighed in on this case are incapable of meaningful introspection or concern about the damage they leave in their wake, we hope some true leaders emerge from these events, that voices on each side of the ongoing debate on policing can be heard and understood by the other side, and that some tangible, productive results follow,” he said.
After weeks of speculation and waiting, the grand jury’s decision on Monday was immediately met with protests, violence and riots throughout Ferguson and other parts of St. Louis, as well as solidarity protests in other cities across the country.
In Ferguson, dozens of businesses were damaged, looted and/or torched in the ensuing chaos. In Ferguson, 61 protesters were arrested along with another 21 in St. Louis, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Police dressed in riot gear withstood hostility from crowds hurling insults and throwing objects, and at least three police cars were lit on fire as looters broke into and vandalized shops throughout the St. Louis suburb.
The Federal Aviation Administration stated that at one point planes flying into St. Louis were diverted out of fear of gunshots being fired into the air.