WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ron Hosko, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund who served as assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) until April 2014, responded to a report by the New York Times that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has declined to charge Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014, saying:
“DOJ has known from the very beginning that no violation of civil rights occurred when Officer Darren Wilson shot an aggressor, Michael Brown, in self-defense. Instead of deliberating immediately and issuing their conclusion in the fall, the Obama Administration let the embers of civil unrest burn, fanned by the rhetoric of opportunistic race dividers. Perhaps the country could have found a better path – one that didn’t include painful, angry and divisive protests or framing law enforcement as impulsive racists who value black lives less than others.
“The damage caused by this ordeal will be felt long after the Ferguson case is closed. Police officers across the country fear not only for their own safety, but also that sinister motives will be assigned to any legitimate and lawful action they take in the line of duty. The biggest victims of such risk aversion will be at-risk communities who most benefit from police patrol.
“The Obama Administration, especially as it prepares to nominate a new attorney general, should take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask what responsibility, if any, it has for the events of the past five months. Did President Obama and top administration officials fan the flames of discontent, or did they help maintain order during a turbulent time? Did they align themselves with respected community leaders and law enforcement in efforts to demonstrate unity, or did they pander with the least common denominator of our society? Did they encourage residents of America’s inner cities to cooperate with our brave men and women in uniform, or did they remain silent as police stood alone?
“Now, more than ever, our country is desperate for leadership that unites us with our shared American values. It is my hope that President Obama finally rises to the occasion.”