It has been three years since Miriam Carey died in a hail of police bullets in the heart of Washington, D.C. Carey was a suburban mother who presented no threat to the law enforcement officers she encountered that day, but a U-turn outside a White House security checkpoint raised the hackles of Capitol police and sparked the fateful “chase” on Oct. 3, 2013.
Before all was said and done, officers fired at Carey’s car near the West lawn of the Capitol, in an area with many pedestrians and motorists nearby. Then they chased her a few blocks up Constitution Ave., and after she crashed, they fired a torrent of bullets into her car, killing Carey but narrowly missing her baby daughter in the backseat. However, her daughter was covered in glass and blood when she was pulled from the vehicle.
Carey had no criminal record. Police knew nothing of her before the fateful encounter. They found no weapons in her car. Yet she wound up dead at the hands of federal law enforcement officials.
This comes at a moment in history when the Obama administration is pushing for more federal control over local police forces.
“President Obama was very quick to dispatch his Justice Department to scrutinize the actions of local police in such instances as the Ferguson shooting,” said Garth Kant, WND’s Washington bureau chief and author of the comprehensive new book “Capitol Crime: Washington’s Cover-up of the Killing of Miriam Carey.” “But when there was what appears to be an actual deadly miscarriage of justice committed by his own federal police officers he said nothing.
“Perhaps we should think very carefully before we decide to impose national standards upon local police forces across the country, if the apparently reckless actions of federal police are to become their role model.”
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However, that could be the future of policing in America if the Obama Justice Department has its way.
Jeff Roorda, a retired police chief and author of the new book a “The War on Police: How the Ferguson Effect is Making America Unsafe,” warns of DOJ “pattern and practice investigations” into local law enforcement agencies all over the country. Arising from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, these investigations give the DOJ pretense to take action against “any governmental authority, or any agent thereof … engaging in a pattern or practice by law enforcement officers… that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
According to Roorda: “Before the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the federal government had no constitutional authority to investigate local law enforcement agencies and had never done so in the preceding two hundred-plus years. That’s because their authority to do so was limited by the Tenth Amendment.
“The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 changed federal statutes, but it did not change the Constitution. So if police powers were reserved to the states by the Constitution before the Crime Control Act and the Constitution was unchanged by the act, how then did the federal government suddenly have the authority to regulate local law enforcement?
“The answer is, it didn’t. The feds’ incursion into local law enforcement is blatantly unconstitutional. It is the federalization of law enforcement one police department at a time.”
When the federal government investigates a police department and slaps it with a “consent decree,” it is always very expensive for the jurisdiction being targeted, Roorda noted. Not only must the local police agency purchase equipment such as body cameras or early alert system software, but they must spend copious amounts on lawyers, consultants and outside monitors.
The latter are necessary because the settlements are not supervised by a judge nor by the DOJ. The Justice Department forces the local jurisdiction to pay outside monitors to ensure the jurisdiction is complying with the consent decree.
Roorda, who had an up-close view as Ferguson, Missouri, got saddled with a consent decree, said outside monitors tend to cost localities between $1.5 million and $2.5 million per year. And they can drag on for years: Los Angeles’ decree lasted 12 years, while the one for the New Jersey state police lasted 10 years.
Roorda noted that although the administrations of Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton launched roughly the same number of pattern and practice investigations, the results of those investigations varied widely. Clinton and Bush each saw only three such probes end in consent decrees during their presidencies, while Obama’s administration has had 15 investigations end in consent decrees or a similar court-approved settlement.
“The Holder Justice Department began using the threat of pattern and practice investigations in 2011 to bully local law enforcement agencies into ceding their authority to operate autonomously of the federal government,” Roorda revealed. “By 2015, a dozen police departments had capitulated to intimidation by the feds and entered into what are known as ‘collaborative reform agreements.'”
There is nothing collaborative about these agreements, the former officer warned. He said the feds “cowed, cajoled, and corralled” the St. Louis County Police Department until it finally relented and changed its practices.
In many cases, the DOJ mandates local police forces change their practices regarding people of color.
“Every police department in America that patrols communities of color trembles at the thought of having Uncle Sam’s boot on their neck, and as a result, they have all backed away from proactive policing,” Roorda said. “That more than anything else explains the precipitous spike in violent urban crime we have seen in the post-Ferguson era.”
Roorda pointed out virtually every Obama-era investigation into “unconstitutional policing” has ended in some sort of sanction, whether a consent decree, settlement agreement, or something else. He believes this shows Obama’s bias against police, which may have arisen from the president’s experiences being profiled as a young black man.
But Roorda does not accept that as a legitimate excuse for Obama’s overreach into local police forces.
“I’m sorry that you and thousands of other African-Americans have been stopped and inconvenienced, and I’m sorrier yet that you leapt to the conclusion that you were racially profiled and that your petty slight amounted to some colossal intrusion into your civil rights,” Roorda said to Obama. “But get over it. American law enforcement has a job to do. In the process they have to balance the public’s need for safety and security against the sacred, guaranteed rights of the citizens with whom they come into contact. It’s a tough job. You should be law enforcement’s partner in this job, not its adversary.
“That is your obligation as the president of the United States of America, and in the discharge of this solemn duty, you have failed.”