Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Race Baiting And Ferguson

In an essay, Race Baiting And Ferguson, Richard Epstein, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution,  Professor of Law at New York University Law School, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago, is a bit too sympathetic to police ticketing and the role of government in general, but his analysis makes a number of noteworthy points, including his conclusion:
The most recent news from Ferguson concerns what Eric Holder has rightly called the “ambush shooting” of two police officers outside the city’s police department. This incident occurred in the wake of two detailed reports released by the Department of Justice. The first report deals in depth with the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The report recommended that the case against him be closed. The second DOJ report contained a scathing indictment of the sad state of affairs within the entire criminal justice system of Ferguson. The combined effect of these two reports is likely to make matters worse in Ferguson by combining the back-handed exoneration of Darren Wilson with the unstinting condemnation of the City of Ferguson...
The two DOJ reports do not cohere. The first shows that Wilson’s use of force against Michael Brown was fully justified. The second uses that incident to launch a scathing attack against Ferguson, leading to the resignation of its key officials for conduct that looks on balance to be no better or worse than that in other cities around the country. The serious consequence of the second high-profile report is to keep alive the image that racial injustice is alive and well in the United States. What the report fails to understand is that it is as dangerous to exaggerate the risk of racial injustice as it is to ignore it. In a sad sense, the overheated DOJ report contributes to the inflamed atmosphere that led to the most recent shootings in Ferguson. 
(ht Walter Block)

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