‘By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Attorney General Holder’s legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any attorney general before him…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) During a virtual event hosted by Georgetown University‘s Institute of Politics and Public Service last week, former Attorney General Eric Holder congratulated himself on his excellent track-record of holding law-enforcement accountable during his tenure with the Obama administration.
“Holder cited many of the reforms he implemented while in office to limit abuse of power by police,” reported the student newspaper, the Georgetown Voice.
Although his hasty 2015 exit from the Justice Department left some of his work unfinished, Holder noted that “[d]uring both his and Loretta Lynch’s tenures as Attorney General under President Obama, the Department of Justice carried out 14 consent decrees to bring federal oversight to municipal police departments accused of systematic misconduct,” said the Voice.
“Federal governments—as well as state and local governments—have to… come up with concrete, real solutions for the problems we have been dealing with for far too long,” Holder said.
“Just because we’ve done it this way forever doesn’t mean we’re going to continue to do it this way in the future,” he added.
A Rush to Judgment
Yet, if ever there were a defining moment that served as the catalyst for deteriorating US race-relations and the lawless rioting response to police brutality, it was Holder’s botched handling of the 2014 Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo.
In a rash rush to judgment, Holder not only dispatched the federal Justice Department to lead the investigation, but he personally showed up on the scene with a “clear message” as CBS News reported at the time:
“The full resources of the Department of Justice are being committed to our federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown,” Holder said in a grandstanding statement.
Legal experts were shocked by his decision to insert himself into the proceedings and dispatch “more than 40” FBI agents to canvas the neighborhood where Brown was shot.
“It is an extraordinary level of personal involvement by an attorney general,” said Thomas Dupree, a DOJ official from the George W. Bush administration.
“The fact that the attorney general is personally traveling to Missouri sends a message that this investigation is a top priority of the administration, it’s a top priority for the attorney general personally,” he said.
Raising the Stakes
It also set the stakes tremendously high in the case. Two years earlier, during Obama’s re-election campaign, the president had inserted himself into the public discourse surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin by saying that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
But in July 2013, Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, was acquitted following a three-week jury trial that determined Zimmerman had acted in self-defense.
As has now become the norm, race-baiting left-wingers decried the “systemic racism” of a trial by jury that would stack justice in favor of Zimmerman, who was of Hispanic descent, over the African–American, hoodie-wearing teen.
No amount of public protest or outrage was enough to supersede the jurisprudential precepts of due process and “beyond a reasonable doubt” to sway the outcome in favor of a second-degree murder verdict.
Thus, Holder resolved that the solution was to leverage more outside spending and manpower on ensuring the ‘correct’ outcome for Police Officer Darren Wilson, who had shot Brown as the heavyset 18-year-old appeared to charge toward him.
“If the Justice Department finds there was a… case for charges, it would go for a long way to abating the temperament of those in the community,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis NAACP branch.
A month after his trip, as Holder’s miscalculation became evident, he tearfully announced his resignation citing “personal reasons,” although he would remain at the DOJ for another seven months as the search for his successor endured.
But Fox News noted that there was no love lost between Obama’s self-declared “wing-man” and the GOP leaders in Congress.
“Eric Holder is the most divisive U.S. attorney general in modern history,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., then chair of the House Oversight Committee. “By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Attorney General Holder’s legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any attorney general before him.”
The Fox article also quoted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who said during Congress’s 2012 decision to hold the attorney general in contempt that Holder’s “arrogance knows no bounds.”
Two months after Holder announced his resignation, the announcement that Wilson would not be indicted by a grand jury spurred a second wave of nationwide protests in November 2014.
In March 2015, a month before his formal departure, Holder conceded that the hoax he helped to spread about Brown’s innocence had been patently false.
“I recognize that the findings in our report may leave some to wonder how the department’s findings can differ so sharply from some of the initial, widely reported accounts of what transpired,” he said in a press conference, according to the Daily Caller.
But Holder stopped short of criticizing the mainstream media for complicity in taking the bait, suggesting that the willingness to spread the hoax had somehow justified the hoax itself.
“It remains not only valid—but essential—to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily,” he claimed.
A Legacy of Lies
Although the official DOJ investigation thoroughly discredited initial claims that Brown had been surrendering when he was shot, left-wing politicians have continued to spread the false narrative.
Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.—both of whom are considered to be frontrunners in presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden’s search for a running mate—falsely spread the lie that Brown was “murdered” as recently as last year, on the fifth anniversary of the shooting.
Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement. We must fight for stronger accountability and racial equity in our justice system.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 9, 2019
5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 9, 2019
Holder’s own dishonest revisionism amid the backdrop of recent racial strife brings full circle his failed legacy on criminal-justice and police reform.
As he has continued efforts to corrupt and exploit other democratic institutions—such as the electoral and redistricting processes—by weaponizing activist, Obama-appointed judges to interfere in legislative decisions, Holder seems to have drawn no lessons from his biggest policy failure.
And despite the assurances he made to the contrary, he now seems intent on duping the public, yet again, into forgetting his mistakes as well.
In an Aug. 20, 2014 op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in which he pledged his support to Ferguson’s African–American community, Holder assured them, “Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community.”
Six years later, America remains stuck in the same cycle of racial injustice and unrest—but Holder’s notion of progress is to follow the same course of action that got us there to begin with and pretend like the past never happened.