Reporting From Ferguson, Missouri–Grand Jury Watch #5, “Ferguson–Potential Political Fallout For The Administration?”
Photo Credit: Protesters gather across the street from the Ferguson, Mo., police station. | AP Photo
Obama urged a small group of the nation’s top civil rights leaders and their organizations to work to keep the peace while ensuring protesters’ free-speech rights. | AP Photo
[Excerpt From Politico, November 13, 2014. For the record, I am on the side of wanting to see justice for the family of young Michael Brown. It is my intention to post excerpts of mainstream news media reporting from the viewpoint of all actors, including those with whose viewpoints I vehemently disagree.]
President Obama fears potential Ferguson fallout
By Jennifer Epstein
11/12/14 8:41 PM EST
Updated 11/13/14 9:52 AM EST
Obama also has to be careful to avoid looking “like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other,” as he put it in August, while both the Justice Department and Ferguson Police Department conduct criminal investigation into Brown’s killing. If Obama or Holder appears to be taking a stance on Wilson’s culpability, their words or actions could force the dismissal of the case.
“He has a tremendous bully pulpit,” Rev. Al Sharpton said of Obama. “But it has to be used at the right time or it could hurt us more than help us.” Sharpton has been the key liaison between the White House, the Brown family and protesters, speaking frequently to Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, and also attending last week’s meeting. He plans to be in Ferguson when the indictment decision is made public.
Despite the limits of his authority in preventing unrest in Ferguson, Obama would likely bear a substantial amount of blame if violence were break out in Ferguson or elsewhere after the grand jury’s decision is announced, other attendees of last week’s White House meeting said.
“When you have a crisis, it is beyond partisanship and politics,” said Marc Morial, the president of the National Urban League and a former mayor of New Orleans. “Everybody gets the credit and the blame.” . . .
While most of that assistance is coming from Justice, Ferguson is also taking advantage of another source of federal support, this one aimed at dealing with some of the structural problems there.
The city’s mayor committed in late September to be part of the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, a piece of the president’s initiative launched earlier this year that’s aimed at helping local communities implement a “cradle-to-college” and career strategy to improve the lives of young people.
Nixon, meanwhile, is focused on the more immediate issues at hand, stressing the importance of keeping the peace.
“Violence will not be tolerated,” Nixon said at a Tuesday news conference with officials from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County police and St. Louis Metropolitan police. “People have a right to express their views and grievances, but they do not have the right to put their fellow citizens or their property at risk.”