We all heard it. The election of a black man as president would put us on a new path to racial harmony in this country.
Anyone who believed that is in dire need of therapy – or at the very least, a good session with reality.
Last week gave us a good dose of that reality and erased any doubts – think Philadelphia, think Oakland. Think black perpetrators. Think white cop, black victim.
First, came the revelations that the Justice Department decided not to pursue prosecutions against the members of the New Black Panthers who were accused of voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the last presidential election.
Dressed in black, carrying nightsticks and spouting intimidating language directed against voters at the polls – all captured on video – it would seem, on the face of it, to be an easy case to prosecute and win.
For reasons clear only to the Obama administration, but not anyone interested in serving justice, the whole case was dropped even though it had already been won by default.
It came to a head with the whistleblower revelation that the DOJ has decided not to pursue any civil-rights prosecutions against blacks. Longtime DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams resigned in disgust in May, and has now spoken openly about the DOJ decision and the ramifications to civil rights and equality in this country. It essentially legalizes black racism.
The flip side of that was the effect of the Johannes Mehserle trial in California – anger, rioting, looting and vandalism.
The 28-year-old former Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman was tried for the shooting death of Oscar Grant during a melee with police which shut down two trains in a BART station early New Year’s Day, 2009.
Mehserle maintained it was a mistake, that he intended to use his Taser but drew his revolver instead and, in the tussle, shot Grant in the back.
Key to the story: Grant was black; Mehserle is a white cop.
The incident took place in Oakland, but was tried in Los Angeles after Mehserle requested a change of venue because of concerns a fair trial wouldn’t be possible in Alameda County. Judging by what’s happened, that was a wise decision.
There were demonstrations, protests and street violence just days after the shooting even as BART investigated the case.
After Mehserle turned himself in, there were other window-smashing demonstrations at Oakland City Hall, arrests and even bomb threats against Mehserle’s family.
In Bay Area media and talk radio, Mehserle was guilty of “murder one” even before the trial.
Last Thursday, the jury’s verdict was announced after a two-hour delay by Judge Robert Perry to give local police jurisdictions warning. They were prepared for trouble.
The jury found Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which means there was no intent to kill Grant, but there was a disregard for life.
For that, he faces two to six years in prison but, because the jury also found him guilty of a “gun enhancement” in the crime, he could face up to 14 years in prison and possibly be ineligible for parole.
Sentencing will be late this summer.
The verdict is virtually unheard-of in that an on-duty policeman was found guilty of a killing while on duty.
Hardly had the verdict been announced than crowds grew in Oakland streets, and despite efforts to keep the “demonstrations” peaceful – the city attempted a street-party atmosphere with music and dancing – it turned violent. Prepared police were restrained as they tried to control the mob. More than 80 were ultimately arrested, many from out of town.
More than 100 businesses were sprayed with graffiti, had windows broken and were looted.
Mayor Ron Dellums praised Oakland citizens for their “restraint” – blaming the violence on “outsiders.”
Local news and liberal talk shows reported the violence was due to those who didn’t belong there.
Didn’t belong!? What makes you qualified to “belong” in Oakland? Are only blacks allowed there? Or is it only residents?
To hear the venom spewed on talk radio by blacks who clearly hate whites and the police is more than shocking.
Tell me again how racial barriers are gone and we’re a race-blind society now that we have a black president.
To adults from the ’60s and ’70s it’s déjà vu. To younger people, it’s new, and that’s sad. They’ve never been taught the truth about what this country went through and the legal and social changes that have taken place to make things equal and fair under the law for all Americans, regardless of color.
Dellums said he doesn’t like the verdict. Nor does Alameda County D.A. Nancy O’Malley. Oscar Grant’s mother screamed in anguish, “My son was murdered! My son was murdered!”
While her grief is understandable, the reality is that the system worked and street violence only makes it more dangerous for cops on the beat in Oakland and every other American city. According to police, Oakland is already the fifth most violent city in the country.
To exacerbate the situation, barely had the verdict been announced than Obama’s Justice Department weighed in with its decision to investigate the case, along with the FBI, to determine any possible civil-rights violations warranting federal prosecution.
No, not against the protesters – against Officer Mehserle.
What they find and what the ramifications might be, given the racial mentality of the Obama Justice Department, raises serious questions concerning justice in this country and the core issue of race relations.
So much for “first black president.”