[News] Why won’t the DOJ recognize the vulnerability of Black life?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 8 15:46:54 EST 2022


scalawagmagazine.org
<https://scalawagmagazine.org/2022/03/doj-tamir-rice-civil-rights-investigation/>
Why
won’t the DOJ recognize the vulnerability of Black life?
'Justifiable police homicide' and the ruse of American justice
“That’s the way it’s designed for Black and brown people. If they could,
they would put us back in chattel slavery.”
by Da'Shaun Harrison <https://scalawagmagazine.org/author/dashaun/>, Joy
James <https://scalawagmagazine.org/author/joyjames/> and Samaria Rice
<https://scalawagmagazine.org/author/samariarice/> March 8, 2022

Da'Shaun Harrison
------------------------------

Tamir Rice was one of several names that made international headlines in
2014. He was a 12-year-old Black boy murdered by Cleveland police within
seconds of their arrival at Cudell Recreation Center
<https://www.wkyc.com/video/news/local/cudell-rec-centers-role-in-clevelands-history/95-808d321e-40c0-4b6a-99d5-f6ab15ce954e>.
His mother, Samaria Rice, has since worked long, hard, and tirelessly to
get some inkling of justice for her son. As a part of that work, she has
been challenging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on its 2020 decision
to close the civil rights investigation into the murder of Tamir Rice by
former Cleveland Police Department Officer, Timothy Loehmann.

Here, Samaria Rice, Da'Shaun Harrison, and Joy James offer three separate
responses to the DOJ's refusal to convene a grand jury for the prosecution
of Timothy Loehmann. While these letters are broken into sections, they are
each in conversation with one another. All three of the writers critique
legalism/legal studies and discuss the antiblack violence of the state.

*Read the original appeal to the DOJ
<https://scalawagmagazine.org/2022/03/doj-tamir-rice-civil-rights-investigation/#letter>
and the DOJ's response
<https://scalawagmagazine.org/2022/03/doj-tamir-rice-civil-rights-investigation/#response>
below.*
*Overview and Analysis: The limitations of legalism in an antiblack world*
*Da'Shaun Harrison*

Ms. Rice sent letters to the DOJ on April 16, April 29, and June 1, 2021
with the specific request that they reconsider their 2020 ruling and
convene a federal grand jury. The DOJ, by way of Kristen Clarke—a Black
woman and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the
DOJ—met with Ms. Rice on October 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C. During the
meeting, Ms. Rice requested, once more, that Assistant Attorney General
Clarke and the DOJ consider reopening the investigation into Tamir's case.

This request was followed by a letter to the DOJ
<https://scalawagmagazine.org/2022/03/doj-tamir-rice-civil-rights-investigation/#letter>
from 50 notable legal scholars and attorneys who also sought to have the
investigation reopened, arguing that the ruling to close the investigation
is unconstitutional. The letter urged the department to consider that their
interpretation of Section 242—a statute enacted as part of the Civil Rights
Act of 1866—is unfounded, stating that the particulars of Tamir's case
"arguably commands the convening of a federal grand jury and prosecution"
of Timothy Loehmann. The letter's authors summarize the shooting of Tamir
and the evidence against Loehmann; explain why a convening of a federal
jury under Section 242 is warranted; and argue that a federal grand jury is
necessary and "required," considering the local grand jury process—citing
allegations that the original grand jury was "tainted, defective, and aimed
at providing a predetermined public exoneration as opposed to a good faith
deliberation based on a fair presentation of the facts."

They conclude their letter with these words:

Curing a defective state process—in this case, one that appears to have
been impermissibly slanted to protect local white law enforcement officials
from accountability in the shooting death of a young black child—is
consistent with the fundamental purpose of the federal civil rights laws
and squarely within the mandate of the DOJ. Only an uncorrupted, fairly
administered federal grand jury process can ensure justice and restore
public confidence in the rule of law, both of which have been substantially
diminished by the actions of local officials and police officers in this
case.

Still, in spite of this plea, on January 28, 2022, the DOJ denied these
varying requests to reopen the investigation. In the DOJ's response
<https://scalawagmagazine.org/2022/03/doj-tamir-rice-civil-rights-investigation/#response>,
addressed to Ms. Rice and her lawyer, Clarke named that in order "to
establish a violation" of Section 242, it must first be proven that
former-officer Loehmann "acted willfully" or "with the specific intent to
do something the law forbids."
*See also:* Qualified Immunity—How 'ordinary police work' tramples civil
rights <https://scalawagmagazine.org/2021/06/qualified-immunity/>

The federal government is standing by their 2020 decision to not convene a
federal grand jury because Loehmann was, in Clarke's words, "not depriving
Tamir of his constitutional rights." Clarke and her constituents are not in
agreement with Ms. Rice, or the 50 lawyers, about Loehmann's murder of
Tamir being enough to prosecute the officer under the Section 242 statute.

The letters from both the DOJ and the legal scholars are clear examples of
the limitations of legal studies and legalism in an antiblack world.

The letters from both the DOJ and the legal scholars are clear examples of
the limitations of legal studies and legalism in an antiblack world. The
U.S. Constitution establishes and protects
<https://www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/constitution>
the freedoms of its citizens, but black subjects were not citizens at the
time of the writing of the Constitution; they were chattel. Despite
attempts to legally represent black subjects as citizens through various
amendments and statutes, the law continues to be used as justification for
our murders precisely because the development and maintenance of this
country require*d* and require*s* antiblack violence. The DOJ's choice to
deny the request to reopen this investigation makes clear the restrictions
of critical race theory—which has been given an ample amount of attention
in recent months—with regard to its (in)ability to create "justice" for
black subjects. Legal studies—and critical race theory, for that
matter—don't stand to undo the violence of law and legality as a structure
whereby black humanity is objectified. Some of the signers of the letter
sent to the DOJ are pioneering scholars in legal studies and critical race
theory, but the fact that they don't wield enough power to sway the
decision of the DOJ indicates that antiblack legalism holds more power than
those who desire to honor black life. Black subjects can't be written into
laws they were intentionally written out of.

There is no justice in the U.S. for black subjects because justice is a
ruse; an attempt to deceive and coerce black folks into believing that it
is even a possibility under a state that sanctions our deaths. Justice in
the U.S. continues to be an enigma, particularly as it attempts to
establish law and order through antiblack force and antiblack
(interpretations of) policy and legal rights that legitimize murder by the
state.
------------------------------
*Reflections*
*Joy James*

In waves of brutality and murder cases, before and after Tamir's death, we
see the (legal) procedures by which "justifiable police homicide"
rulings/determinations become the escape hatch through which the state
walks free. Last fall, on September 13, 2021, Georgia police killed
12-year-old Leden Boynkins when they allegedly performed
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/investigations/pit-maneuver-police-deaths/>
a risky pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver on the car in which
he and a 14-year-old with his father sat defenseless while they began a
desperate collective conversation with police dispatchers. Charlie Moore,
the Black father of the 14-year-old, requested an on-site supervisor to
control the police, who were endangering children. (Allegedly, police
surrounded and smashed car windows next to the children in the parked car.)
Unable to de-escalate police violence, we ask for assistance from
supervisors, civil rights laws, and attorney generals. Without the time to
litigate or the conditions under which the vulnerability of Black life
would be recognized, the father drove away, and 911 conversations
continued—leaving the family at the mercy of a police chase.

Neither the killings themselves nor the injustices surrounding Tamir Rice,
Ma'Khia Bryant, and Leden Boynkin's murders are aberrations. We are taxed
to pay for structures of state violence as well as ineffectual legalistic
responses to violent police corruption.

Allegedly, police in squad cars rammed a civilian car. The car flipped
over, and Leden died. Rather than take accountability for their violence,
the state has incarcerated the parental driver
<https://youtu.be/n_8HeXISt6k>, Charlie Moore, on felony murder charges for
Leden's death.

On the same day in April 2021 that Derek Chauvin was to be sentenced, Ohio
police killed
<https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/us/columbus-ohio-shooting.html>
16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant, firing four shots towards her as she threatened
two girls during an altercation at a foster home. I am struck by another
Black father's image of climate crisis that he shared with the media.
Rather than watching the Chauvin verdict later that day, Rayshawn Whiting
went to the neighborhood protest for Ma'Khia, and described our limited
legalistic choices: "I've got daughters… I'm tired of it. I feel like a
polar bear with the ice caps melting. We have nowhere to run. If we protect
ourselves, we go to jail. If we don't, we die."

Neither the killings themselves nor the injustices surrounding Tamir Rice,
Ma'Khia Bryant, and Leden Boynkin's murders are aberrations. We are taxed
to pay for structures of state violence as well as ineffectual legalistic
responses
<https://blog.harvardlawreview.org/derrick-bells-interest-convergence-and-the-permanence-of-racism-a-reflection-on-resistance/>
to violent police corruption. Our political strategies for protections will
evolve in communal-democratic strategy sessions where we labor to control
predatory violence by containing the violators we fund.
------------------------------
*Final words*
*Samaria Rice*

I met with you, Ms. Clarke, as well as your staff, two career attorneys,
and one of your assistants on the 27th of October, 2021. I asked for an
indictment on behalf of my son, and you said that statute 242 is very hard
to challenge. I told you to challenge it anyway. How would we ever know if
you don't challenge it? You said I don't know what Loehmann was thinking in
his mind that day. And I said I don't care about what you think he was
thinking that day. I also don't care what Loehmann was thinking about that
day, November 22nd, 2014. Frank Garmback drove up, created a dangerous
situation, and now my life has changed forever.

You really had me thinking you were going to do the right thing. You and
your team would rather please the government than meet the needs of the
people. What sense does it make that you, as a Black woman, represent Black
and brown folks but refuse to tend to our needs?

After the horrible news from the DOJ, I now know that there will be no
justice for Black and brown people in America when it comes to police
murders and police shootings. The DOJ breaks their own rules, so how do we
get justice in a system like that? They are cowards, and the system can't
be fixed.

You name that there is no proof that Loehmann "acted willfully," but
Loehmann had his gun sitting on his lap as Garmback pulled their police car
just a few feet in front of my son. They created the danger. Willfully. The
two horrible Cleveland police officers should be indicted and charged with
first degree murder, conspiracy and the cover up of Tamir Rice's murder.

None of you all have ever done right by the people that put your sorry
asses in office, and now I know they will not ever make it right.

Ms. Clarke, 50 of your constituents, and some of your mentors, disagreed
with your position and despite that fact, you stood by the 2020 ruling to
not convene a federal grand jury. I believed that since you are a Black
woman, you would do the right thing. But you are an ass kisser and a big
disappointment to me as a Black woman. I would never want to be like you,
and I hope our little Black girls will never be like you and fake-ass Ms.
[Kamala] Harris. I feel sorry for you. All you people in power will meet
Satan at the Altar. Two *Black women* in power and unwilling to support the
needs of Black people; what a damn shame.

As the people, we must vote y'all asses out of the damn administration. And
to the Congressional Black Caucus: you all should look in the mirror as
well. Most of y'all are pitiful and pathetic. Y'all have stood for nothing.
America is designed to fail Black and brown people. You may think you are
one of the white people with power, but you better double back and look in
the mirror. A child can be killed in America and the American legal system
will justify it. This system is broken from the inside out and it can't be
fixed. No one will give us justice in the DOJ where they commit crimes of
genocide, conspiracies, and the cover up of murders on American
citizens—especially for Black and brown people. I'm so disgusted with the
DOJ, Democrats, Biden and all other presidential administrations. None of
you all have ever done right by the people that put your sorry asses in
office, and now I know they will not ever make it right.

Genocide is so real in America; that's the way its designed for Black and
brown people. If they could, they would put us back in chattel slavery;
that's the way they want to see it done.

Black people: *we will not get justice in this system.* Save yourself,
train your family, the war has been here. It's time to be all the way woke.

*Donate to the Tamir Rice Foundation here*
<https://www.tamirericefoundation.org/donate>
*.**Donate to Samaria Rice directly via CashApp*
<https://cash.app/$SamariaRice>*.*
------------------------------
Read the letter to the DOJ from 50 notable legal scholars and attorneys
seeking to reopen the investigation into Tamir Rice's murder, and the DOJ's
response, below:
https://scalawagmagazine.org/2022/03/doj-tamir-rice-civil-rights-investigation/
------------------------------
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