Holder Meets Sharpton
The attorney general heaps praise on an infamous huckster.

Eric Holder and Al Sharpton in April 2011


Andrew C. McCarthy

A prosecutor cannot prove murder without being able to prove mens rea (the state-of-mind element of the offense). To file a murder charge without first establishing mens rea would be unethical and violate due process. So, initially, the Florida authorities did not. But there followed over six weeks of race-baiters fanning the flames of rage. If a U.S. attorney general has any role in such circumstances, it is to call for calm, assure people that the professionals are doing their duty diligently, and urge that the process be allowed to play out. Holder, instead, decided to go Sharpton — except he’s a Sharpton with subpoena power, as well as the raw power to threaten Florida with a civil-rights investigation that would portray its police and prosecutors as racially insensitive obstacles to social justice.

Florida got the message. After the original prosecutor and police chief stepped aside under blistering political heat for declining to indict Zimmerman, the governor appointed Angela Corey, an elected state attorney of apparent ambition, as a special prosecutor. She decided not to continue with the grand jury — which would have required submitting the weak case to members of the community. She has now unilaterally filed a second-degree-murder charge against Zimmerman, based on an affidavit that is so laughably devoid of probable cause that commentators across the ideological divide — from former Reagan Justice Department official Mark Levin to Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz– have panned it as incredibly weak and grossly irresponsible. It is agitprop, not law — it makes murky mention of a “struggle” but meticulously avoids mention of the injuries sustained by Zimmerman; and it invokes the ambiguous but explosive word “profiled” while failing to explain what it means, or to clarify that, absent any racial component (and none is alleged), profiling is perfectly legitimate. Police do it all the time to avoid harassing innocent people.

You can thank Eric Holder. He has a gun to Florida’s head, and he is standing his ground.

It is quite amazing that Holder is in a position to do so. His prior tenure as Clinton deputy attorney general — a record of corrupting the pardon process, politicizing the Justice Department (even to the point of arranging commutations for convicted FALN terrorists), and misleading Congress — made it embarrassingly obvious that he was not fit to be attorney general. Yet, Senate Republicans ignored warnings to this effect and marched in merry lockstep with Democrats to confirm him overwhelmingly.

Now, so predictably, Al Sharpton is smiling. We have no justice and no peace.

—  Andrew C. McCarthy is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.


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