Many of those who protested the early August 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri believed that the killing of blacks and other non-whites is accepted police policy across America.
Bracketing the slaying of Michael Brown was the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City and the fatal shooting of John Crawford inside a Wal-Mart store in a town north of Cincinnati.
One month before the death of Brown in Ferguson the District Attorney of bucolic Sonoma County California announced that the policeman who fatally shot a 13-year-old Mexican-American boy months earlier would not face prosecution for that controversy sparking slaying.
D.A. Jill Ravitch based her decision not to prosecute Deputy Erick Glehaus for the death of Andy Lopez on a report that absolved Glehaus prepared by an expert Ravitch hired for his "independence." But that expert has a history of consistently siding with police accused of wrongful deaths. Ravitch withheld release of that report until after her reelection.
In 2000, a report prepared for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights harshly criticized the then D.A. and police officials in Sonoma County for excusing each of eight fatal police shootings from April 1995 to September 1997.
The investigative committee that prepared that 2000 report was "appalled at the number of deadly incidents." The report urged Sonoma's District Attorneys office to conduct reviews of fatal police shootings that were "fair and impartial" -- a suggestion that current DA Ravitch did not follow in the Lopez shooting critics charge.
That 2000 report recommended the creation of a citizen review board to monitor police. Sonoma authorities never implemented that recommendation for the county located sixty miles north San Francisco known for its wines (and 'weed').
That report also assailed authorities for the practice of seeking ""to criminalize their victims and marginalize their critics""
Sonoma authorities, defending Deputy Glehaus, faulted Lopez for having marijuana in his system. (Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri quickly portrayed Brown as a robber for allegedly snatching a few cigars before his fatal shooting.)
As that 2000 report from the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights noted, when police commanders and officers "separate from the greater community to protect individual officers who have transgressed they also become part of the problem."
Today, politicians, press pundits and preachers across America, portray terrorists with a foreign face. Yet, for far too many across America, the terrorizers that they encounter daily are police.
Linn Washington is a founding member of the investigative reporting/commentary news site: This Can't Be Happening.net
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