Tags: MidPoint | Alberto Gonzales | Ferguson | false narrative

Ex-AG Alberto Gonzales: Time to Retire 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot'

By    |   Friday, 13 Mar 2015 02:57 PM

People upset about policing in America need to drop "Hands up, Don't Shoot" as their slogan, because it's a meme based on a false account of the death of Michael Brown, says former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"It didn't happen, and people need to let go of that narrative," Gonzales told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Friday, commenting on developments this week in the troubled city of Ferguson, Mo., where two policeman were shot and wounded on Thursday.

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"We should continue to try to improve communications and relationships in Ferguson — and not just in Ferguson, but all around the country between communities and police departments," said Gonzales, dean of Belmont University College of Law in Nashville.

"But that narrative is a false narrative," he said of claims that Brown was gunned down while he was attempting to surrender, "and people need to let it go."

Joined on air by Los Angeles radio talk show host Larry Elder, Gonzales also addressed a scathing Justice Department report on the suburban city of 20,000 outside of St. Louis, a flashpoint for national unrest and new anxieties about relations between police departments and black communities.

Gonzales said Attorney General Eric Holder came to a fair conclusion last week in declining to charge Officer Darren Wilson with violating Brown's civil rights in the Aug. 9 shooting.

He also cautioned against over-interpreting statistics cited in the accompanying report that alleges widespread racial bias by local officials and police.

Investigators found that 85 percent of vehicle stops and 93 percent of arrests in Ferguson were of African-Americans, who make up 67 percent of the city's population; and that ticketing, fines and late-payment fees to bankroll municipal operations fell hardest on Ferguson's poor black residents.

The report has led to a flurry of resignations in Ferguson's city hall, police department and municipal court.

"One needs to be very careful about looking at those [numbers] and drawing conclusions about what they mean," said Gonzales. "When you look at the numbers on its face, they do appear to be troubling."

He said one underlying cause is economics — "the fact that you've got a police department that's probably struggling to make ends meet and they've got to raise revenue," he said.

"But that's a problem for a lot of police departments all around the country," he said.

"When you're dealing with a community that's predominantly African-American," said Gonzales, "it wouldn't be surprising that you'd have a large number of African-Americans who would be subject to some kind of police stopping and ticketing."

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People upset about policing in America need to drop "Hands up, Don't Shoot" as their slogan, because it's a meme based on a false account of the death of Michael Brown, says former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Alberto Gonzales, Ferguson, false narrative
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2015-57-13
Friday, 13 Mar 2015 02:57 PM
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