Justice Department has poor track record

The criminal section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, handling the investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri case, doesn't have a stellar record and shouldn't be involved.

Case in point: Its prosecution of five members of the New Orleans Police Department for shooting suspected looters after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The five, convicted in 2011, petitioned for a new trial.

In 2012, federal Judge Kurt Engelhardt ordered a new trial, noting the unprofessionalism of some of the lawyers at the Eric Holder Justice Department and the department's attempts to obscure its misdeeds.

When the federal government focuses on race, it inflames racial tensions. The aggrieved parties feel not enough is being done; the rest feel too much is being done.

Police officers have the same right to due process as anyone else under our Constitution. It appears politicians, pandering for votes, are denying Officer Darren Wilson his rights. They've joined the looters, hate merchants and protesters for "justice."

New material surfaces daily changing the original story to one where Michael Brown may have been at fault. Justice should be color blind.

Gregg Manning

Clayton

Local authorities circling the wagons


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I strongly believe the Justice Department should get involved in the Ferguson, Missouri, case because the information released by public officials there has been less than truthful in quality and quantity.

Releasing the film clip of a large, black male strong-arming a store clerk, purportedly Michael Brown, is an example of the police circling their wagons to justify the killing of an unarmed black teenager. Ferguson's police chief later admitted that Officer Darren Wilson didn't know about the store incident that happened 10 minutes earlier.

If a black person in Ferguson had shot, or even mugged a white man, he would have been in jail immediately. However, a white cop shoots an unarmed black youth, numerous times, and is still loose, with no charges filed.

So we are forced to await the outcome of a grand jury "investigation" -- from a prosecutor who has yet to interview eyewitnesses to the actual shooting.

Thurdell Wickliff

Richmond

Feds can conduct an impartial probe

It seems necessary because the citizens and police seem to have two different realities about what transpired. Before the Civil Rights Act was passed, a situation such as Ferguson, would have been investigated by the local authorities.

We all know how unequal those investigations usually turned out, especially in certain states.

The media itself is to blame as well. The adage " if it bleeds, it leads" drives sensationalism in reporting, further obscuring the facts. The U.S. government now has an opportunity to investigate in a more impartial way.

We should all take a deep breath and wait for the full report on the evidence.

Anne Spanier

Alameda

Protests an excuse to steal and loot

The Justice Department should get involved in Ferguson.

The protests were an excuse for stealing and looting.

Carol Bunco

Antioch

Events raise many important questions

The events in Ferguson raise a lot of questions but could have ended peacefully.

If Michael Brown had complied with Officer Darren Wilson's request that he walk on the sidewalk instead of the street, we would not have this unfortunate chain of events. I have heard that his parents had instructed him about proper response to police officers.

Some questions that come to mind are: Why are there not more African-American officers on the police force in Ferguson and in many other communities? Do African-Americans apply? Are there problems with meeting requirements to qualify? Why? Do we need to study some of these problems and find some answers?

We hear different stories about what happened, and arriving at the whole story will take a long time. There are some lessons for us here and many unanswered questions.

Marlyn Kauk

Richmond

The feds should not meddle in Ferguson

The Department of Justice has no business in Ferguson, Missouri.

The death of the young man was a horrible tragedy, but it is a local problem. The Obama administration will always create a racism event when such a death occurs.

I'm so sorry that this alleged beating of Officer Darren Wilson and the shooting death of Michael Brown had to happen. But the bottom line is that what happened is a local problem. Keep the federal government out of our local communities.

Unfortunately, all the media hype caused the looting and destruction in the Ferguson community. We know that many of the businesses will never return and the property values lost more than $700 million.

The family of the Michael Brown is suffering and the community of Ferguson will never be the same. How terrible! Why did this have to happen?

Mike Vukelich

El Cerrito

Feds had no choice but to get involved

The Justice Department had no choice with Al Sharpton, the media and even Gov. Jay Nixon convicting the officer without any of the facts. Nobody really knows any of the facts yet. I don't trust Eric Holder; I think he's biased.

If this was a black officer killing a white man, nobody would ever hear anything about it. This officer, in my opinion, will get convicted, because if he doesn't, can you imagine the riots then? The looting and riots now will be nothing compared to that.

Why would these people loot and destroy all this property over this shooting? The merchants had nothing to do with the shooting. If they want more people on their side, they should refrain from ruining property and be more mature about their cause.

Cathy Ledbetter

Newark

No chance of fair trial for officer

Because President Barack Obama, the governor of Missouri, the three-person delegation that Obama sent to Ferguson, along with the rants of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, have all but declared Officer Darren Wilson guilty, there is no way this man can get a fair trial anywhere in the United States.

Therefore, they should drop any further efforts to bring an indictment against Wilson -- unless they just want to offer him up as a human sacrifice.

John Mullany

Richmond

Feds can help find root of problems

Both the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services should be involved in the police shooting case in Ferguson, Missouri. Recent mass shootings by behaviorally ill males have given police nationwide paranoid itchy-trigger fingers.

Civil rights includes rights of ethnicity, religion, gender, age and behavior. The recent suicide of Robin Williams, who suffered from a dual behavioral illness, has brought out of the closet speakers and writers who express the needs for behavioral health-care reform.

Behavior is the one right which is not always visible. But police, through background checks, know who in their city have behavioral health issues.

Ralph Hoffmann

Walnut Creek