A Microscope on Harvard, but a Shrug at Injustice on the Street

NOTE: Looking for a press release from Attorney General Sessions stating that it's once again okay for cops to get in a little more target practice on the streets by shooting unarmed Black and Latino men?  Nah!   You will search in vain for a public announcement about the Department of Justice's policy pivot in this regard.  But if you search long and hard, you will find small clues that point to this new "open season" approach to justice for all.  Like the DOJ's decision not to monitor or enforce existing consent decrees with police departments any longer and to end investigations of police departments for discriminatory practices and police brutality and to exit from the consent decree business altogether.   Then again, there's the DOJ's re-invigoration of the "War On Crime" that had previously been so successful in putting more Black and Latin folks in jail at rates multiple times higher than whites.  Or I guess you could cite the DOJ's re-institution of mandatory minimum sentences that worked hand in hand with the "War On Crime" effort to keep Black and Latin folks in jail for much longer periods of time was ever possible before.  At least outside the South.   I'm waiting for Sessions' announcement that jail house torture will be declared legal shortly.  But against Blacks and Latinos only.

The latest from the Department of Justice for Whites Only - let's call it the DOJWO - is the AG's announcement that he is looking for more civil rights attorney's to crack down on reverse racism at our nation's college and universities.  That's right.  Stopping the rampant practice of denying Whites admission because of affirmative action.  Or something.  Yes, a YUUUGE national embarrassment and such a burning issue all across the land of the free and the home of the brave that it requires an entirely new division in DOJWO since the existing Civil Rights Division simply has not been doing its job.

Funny thing is, this new Department of Justice for Whites Only (DOJWO) isn't funny at all.         

By: Jim Dwyer
The New York Times
August 4,2017

We learned this week that the Trump administration is recruiting lawyers for a new front in the battle for civil rights, this one to fix possible discrimination in an elite corner of higher education. The Department of Justice appears to be investigating a complaint that Asian-Americans with strong credentials are not getting a fair shake at Harvard.
As it happens, just when news of this new cause surfaced, I got a couple of reminders that the world has no shortage of less rarefied injustices of long standing.
First, I was visited by Leroy G. Grant and Danny Reyes, two men I had last seen 19 years ago, when they were in hospital beds in Camden, N.J., critically wounded by gunshots.
They had been in a car on the New Jersey Turnpike with two other young men, all from New York City, all in their early 20s, driving to a college basketball showcase in North Carolina one evening. A pair of state troopers pulled them over. I still have the “official news release” issued by the state, dated April 24, 1998, about what happened next. It says their car was clocked by radar going 74 miles per hour, and that on the shoulder, the driver backed into the troopers. The troopers began firing in self-defense, the official news release said.
“Criminal and/or motor vehicle charges are pending,” the release said. “The New Jersey State Police has contacted the suspects’ families.” A search warrant would be executed. The superintendent of the state police said they were “unemployed.”
The police had fired 11 shots, maiming Mr. Reyes and Mr. Grant, injuring Rayshawn Brown, and terrifying the driver, Keshon Moore.
Of the four, three were, in fact, college students. A search by the police turned up no weapons, no drugs, no “contraband,” but did find basketball gear, a few schoolbooks, a Bible and a copy of “The Long Valley” by John Steinbeck. The 74 m.p.h. radar reading was fiction: There was no radar in the police vehicle. In fact, the troopers had not radioed their dispatcher that they were pulling over the car. This was not a fluke, but, it turned out, standard practice when blacks were stopped.
Troopers had been disproportionately pulling over blacks on the turnpike by the thousands every year. Academic studies found that while every racial group sped on the turnpike, black motorists were five to 16 times more likely to be stopped. The racial stops, under a different name, were a standard part of state police training. When Democratic and Republican governors were told about it, they either did nothing or denied anything was wrong.
The young men were “suspects”of nothing.
A filmmaker is working on a documentary about those events on the turnpike, which were the overture for two decades of revelations on the peril and folly of race-based policing. A 2015 investigation by The New York Times of practices in Greensboro, N.C., found that blacks were far more likely to be stopped than whites— but whites were more likely to have weapons or drugs. A city task force in Chicago found similar results. The pattern persists in research on other places across the country.
Indicting one or two officers — as happened in the turnpike case — does not get at customs and habits poured into the concrete of our laws and law enforcement. “The definition of ‘scapegoat’ is these two troopers,” Rodney Moore, the father of the driver, Keshon Moore, told me in 1999. (The troopers later pleaded guilty to reduced charges, and the state paid $13 million to settle lawsuits.)
The other reminder was an updated report, published last month, on how New York City enforces marijuana laws. For three decades, the police have “been arresting blacks for marijuana possession at about seven times the rate of whites,” Harry Levine, a sociologist at Queens College, reported. “West Harlem’s marijuana arrest rate is 186 times higher than the Upper East Side’s.”
During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump tweeted false statistics from white supremacists about black-on-white crime.
Now his Department of Justice is chasing the fairness of admissions at Harvard, which may be worthy of scrutiny, but hardly compares to the criminalization of driving while black, walking while black, holding weed while black, voting while black.
Mr. Reyes’s arm is lined with scars after years of restorative surgery. Mr. Grant says he still feels the aches in the leg that was blown open by the bullet. “I know when it’s going to rain,” he said.

The events on the turnpike in April 1998 turned him into a human weather vane.

PS: Here's the fundamental problem with Attorney General Jeff Sessions (well, setting aside the huge slap in the nation's face that he IS our Attorney General):  it's his continuing racism.   Is Jeff Sessions alone as having served as a racist Representative or Senator in Congress?  Not by a long shot.  Our history is full of racists who have been elected to the House and the Senate. In fact, there are way too many sitting at there fancy desks in both chambers even today.  

But it appears - at least by his actions if not his words - that Sessions hasn't "evolved" from a racist Southern Senator from Alabama into someone who's a bit more compatible with the 21st Century's mores.  It's just not cool any longer to be openly racist except if you're a right wing radio talk show host. This is not who Sessions is.  He is a former United States Senator.  He is currently the nation's Attorney General.  

The AG's lack of evolutionary development brings to my mind another, similar, racist politician and alleged member of the Ku Klux Klan as a youngster, West Virginia's late but long serving and powerful Senator, Robert C. Byrd, who served in Congress from 1953 until 2010.   Back in the early days of his career, Byrd was as racist as they come matching Strom Thrumond and Alabama Governor, George Wallace in racist, segregationist rhetoric and fighting passage of the Civil Rights Act by conducting a day long filibuster against it's passage and voting against it.   

But in his later life, Democrat Byrd came to realize that his racist views were just wrong.  

Beginning in the 1970s, Byrd explicitly renounced his earlier views favoring racial segregation.  Byrd said that he regretted filibustering and voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would change it if he had the opportunity. Byrd also said that his views changed dramatically after his teenage grandson was killed in a 1982 traffic accident, which put him in a deep emotional valley. "The death of my grandson caused me to stop and think," said Byrd, adding he came to realize that African-Americans love their children as much as he does his.  During debate in 1983 over the passage of the law creating the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, which some conservatives opposed, Byrd grasped the symbolism of the day and its significance to his legacy, telling members of his staff "I'm the only one in the Senate who must vote for this bill"

For the 2003–2004 session, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rated Byrd's voting record as being 100% in line with the N.A.A.C.P.'s position on the thirty-three Senate bills they evaluated.  Upon news of his death, the NAACP released a statement praising Byrd, saying that he "became a champion for civil rights and liberties" and "came to consistently support the NAACP civil rights agenda".

The late Robert C. Byrd realizes his racist errors and apologizes.    

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is still racist.  "Crickets"

Have A Good Day Folks but Resist the Jeff Sessions Department of White Only Justice. 


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