Monday, July 15, 2013

DOJ Helps Pay For Protests

In the last 48 hours people have come out on different sides as far as the verdict for George Zimmerman, but as George Stephanopoulos stated on Good Morning America this morning:
"Something can make you mad or angry, but that does not mean that justice did not occur under the law."

Whatever one may think about the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman after a verdict was reached in the case, we should all agree that the Department of Justice should not be involved in stage-managing public protests. However according to the documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Community Relations Service at Eric Holder’s DOJ “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen.”

According to Hans von Spakovsky from the Heritage Foundation:
The Community Relations Service provided “support for protest deployment” and “technical assistance” to event organizers for a march and rally on March 31. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Community Relations Service staff even helped organize a meeting between the city of Sanford and the local NAACP that resulted in the temporary resignation of police chief Bill Lee. One of the local pastors whose church was the focal point of protests aptly summarized the bias of Community Relations Service when she was quoted as saying that it was “there for us.” Apparently, it wasn’t “there” for Zimmerman.

If in fact the DOJ’s Community Relations Service was assisting in training and organizing protesters against Zimmerman, the DOJ potentially overstepped its bounds and interfered in a local law enforcement investigation and prosecution. If this is true the service was violating its own mandate. As its website explains, the Community Relations Service is the “peacemaker” for community conflicts. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is supposed to assist in “preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.” It is not supposed to be raising racial tensions by helping to organize protests.

The Community Relations Service says on its website that it
“does not take sides among disputing parties” and provides “impartial conciliation and meditation services.”

Apparently, it failed to avoid taking sides or provide “impartial” services in Sanford, Florida.

It is apparent that Congress needs to hold an oversight hearing regarding the recent actions of the Community Relations Service and their potentially unethical involvement in the Zimmerman case. It should force DOJ to provide all of its internal documents and emails related to its activities in Sanford, and Grande Lum, the current director of the Community Relations Service, should explain why it violated its own rules to take sides in a local dispute and foment racial protests—the exact opposite of the kind of actions it is supposed to take.

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