“The lynchers-in-blue run amuk because they are aided and abetted by the Black Misleadership Class and its Democratic elected representatives in Congress.”
Lynchings are as much a part of Americana as the 4thof July -- occasions for white supremacist pyrotechnics and celebratory violence. Deep into the 1930s, hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of whites would periodically gather, with their families and picnic baskets in tow, to ritually hang, burn, castrate, riddle with bullets and otherwise mutilate one or more Black men, oftentimes putting Black women and children to the torch, as well. At the turn of the 20thcentury, the crusading Black activist Ida B. Wells, who documented thousands of extrajudicial murders of Black people, declared “Our country's national crime is lynching.” But the U.S. Congress never made lynching a federal crime.
Lynching remains the national pastime. In the 1960s, the U.S. Justice Department revived a nearly century-old practice of prosecuting lynchers on federal civil rights charges, since local authorities often sympathized with -- or were, themselves -- lynchers. In recent decades, however, the feds have grown reluctant to build criminal cases against the usual perpetrators of extrajudicial murder of Black people – the police -- even in the face of a rejuvenated grassroots movement against killer cops. Barack Obama, the First Black President, offered empathy to the parents of Trayvon Martin, musing that the 17 year-old “could have been me 35 years ago," but he failed to bring federal charges against the vigilante that shot him. Obama’s two Black attorneys general mounted federal cases against only two killer cops, both of whom had already been indicted by local authorities.
“The feds have grown reluctant to build criminal cases against the usual perpetrators of extrajudicial murder of Black people – the police.”
The elected ranks of the Democratic Party have no stomach for a real anti-lynching law, one that would corral the main body of lynchers: the men and women in blue, who kill a Black person every 28 hours. In June of 2014, just months before Mike Brown was shot down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, the Congressional Black Caucus voted, 32 to 8, to continue the Pentagon’s infamous 1033 program, which funnels billions of dollars in battle-grade weapons and gear to local police departments. Barack Obama escalated the militarization of police to unprecedented levels, increasing 1033 program funding 24-foldover his Republican predecessor, George Bush.
The lynchers-in-blue run amuk because they are aided and abetted by the Black Misleadership Class and its Democratic elected representatives in Congress. The Black Caucus in May voted 29 to 11, with 2 abstentions, to make assault on police officers a federal hate crime, effectively elevating cops to the status of a “protected class.” (See “Black Caucus Sells Out Its Constituents Again – to the Cops,” BAR.)
“Bobby Rush would not dare to construct a bill that is designed to facilitate the prosecution of cops.”
Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush was among the three-quarters of the Black Caucus that supported the Protect and Serve Act of 2018. Exactly one month later, on June 13, Rush introduced legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime. But, Blacks are already a “protected class” and, although the legislation has symbolic and political value, the feds are already empoweredto bring federal civil rights charges that could result in death penalties for crimes “committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin of any person.” The government most often simply refuses to use its existing powers.
Rep. Rush’s bill does not enhance the already existing federal civil rights statutes that were designed to prosecute copsthat commit crimes “under color of law” -- that is, while acting as cops – against persons “on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race,” according to FBI investigation guidelines. If Rush’s bill were to have more than symbolic value, it would reinforce the “under color of law” aspects of federal civil rights law, to make it easier to convict the police of “hate crime” murders, i.e., lynching -- since they are by far the main perpetrators.But Bobby Rush would not dare to construct a bill that is designed to facilitate the prosecution of cops, a “class” he and three-quarters of the Black Caucus had just provided additional protections.
“Rep. Rush’s bill does not enhance the already existing federal civil rights statutes that were designed to prosecute cops.”
Thirty-five Black Caucus members joined as co-sponsors of Rush’s bill. Almost all of them had voted to continue militarizing the police, in 2014 -- as would all but one of the absolutely putrid CBC members that have since been elected, based on their subsequent behavior. (New Jersey’s Bonnie Watson Coleman is the lone exception.) Most of these same Black lawmakers voted in May to make police a “protected class.” Only three Black Caucus members that supported Rush’s anti-lynching bill DID NOT vote to elevate police to protected status, or to further militarize the cops. They are:
Maxine Waters (CA), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA), Barbara Lee (CA)
All the rest of the Caucus (Rep. Coleman-Watson excepted) are demonstrably full of crap on the subject of lynching-by-cops and every other form of racist police state oppression.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]