By Don Frost
Recently a black woman in Chicago accused a white Chicago police officer of throwing her to the ground and kneeling on her neck. The charge is being investigated by COPA (the Civilian Office of Police Accountability).
Chicago’s black mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was asked to comment on the incident. She replied, “Of course I have my own personal opinion about it, but I’m not going to share it because I don’t want to influence COPA’s work.”
Rewind to February, 2012. A black teenager, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla. A police investigation determined Zimmerman acted in self-defense and so he was released.
Enter Barack Obama. Asked to comment on the incident after seeing a flattering studio portrait of Martin, he replied, “Why, that could have been me 35 years ago.” Thus he draped the mantel of presidential innocence on Martin. Protests against the police and Zimmerman ensued, forcing the county to conduct an expensive and unnecessary trial of Zimmerman. The trial kept the country tied up in knots for weeks, and in the end the jury – after seeing more evidence about the shooting than that portrait of Martin – endorsed the original police investigation: Zimmerman was innocent because he shot Martin while Martin was pounding his head against a concrete sidewalk, ie., in self-defense. Zimmerman’s innocent verdict was Martin’s guilty verdict.
Jump ahead two years to Ferguson, Mo. A neighborhood thug, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. The black people of Ferguson protested and rioted, claiming Brown was killed while his hands were raised in the act of surrendering. Enter Barack again. He gave a formal speech in which he said, without proof, that, “Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement, guilty of walking while black . . .”
With a presidential endorsement in hand, rioters and looters continued. And who could blame them? The president of the United States had flat out told them that their actions were understandable. What is the difference between “understandable” and “acceptable”? Nothing.
Like the case in Florida, the riots forced a formal investigation by Obama’s black attorney general, Eric Holder. And, like the Florida case, the investigation proved Brown was not shot because he was “walking while black”; nor was he in the act of surrendering; and he did, indeed, attack Wilson who, therefore, acted in self-defense. Wilson’s innocent verdict was Brown’s guilty verdict.
Obama, our “historic” first black president, was uniquely positioned to bridge the racial divide that has plagued our nation since its founding. Instead he fanned the flames of racial animosity at every opportunity.
Too bad Lightfoot wasn’t around at the time to show Obama how to be presidential.
Don Frost blogs at www.commonsense931.wordpress.com